Voyages & Découvertes

Congo Town

Wednesday 9 September 2009 by Stephan Mardaga

The temporary shelter assigned for UNV (United Nations Volunteers) which is named Transit house, is located in the Monrovia suburb of Congo Town. In Brussels, we have Matonge; though there are more Guineans than Congolese here. Just a few steps away from the building, African atmosphere is quickly glaring. I usually go at the corner of the street to purchase an orange, turn to my right and proceed to a shop near a school to buy some <> : it is a kind of bread lightly mixed with pepper sauce and fish. Souzi, daughter of the manageress gave me the pseudonym mister Miam-Miam. She always roars with laughter when I taste the fishpat, rub my stomach with my hand and say : "Hmm, bon miam-miam".

The baking process is to mix the flower, spread it as small round pieces on a table, add the fish gravy over and fold it. The oven is rudimentary : a big refrigerator was striped naked from the interior; at the bottom, burning fire coal is laid to head heat up the box. At the upper level, pans covered with fish pat are lined up : the door is then closed. It is excellent, delicious and not expensive.

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Souzi and her brother

Souzi and her brother

It is Sunday; as usual I walk around and make a stop to watch a group of children playing. They were preparing a diner with sand and some leaf, a cup used as a plate, plastic spoons and others. I sat right near them and lighted a cigarette. Of course my presence disturbs a little, but as I showed interest they invited me to eat. I accepted and pretended to eat the mixture of sand saying to them "hmm, bon miam-miam".

The barrier was broken, and all started talking together. I could not understand; I then proposed a picture. It was then the rush, they were all happy for a photo.

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The happy swarm

Yesterday evening, I had gone to the shop to buy some local beer (Club Beer) and Souzi was there. With my beverage in a bag, I was leaving the shop when Souzi, pointing her finger at the drinks said : "hmm, bon miam-miam". I responded "No. Hmm, bon glou-glou". The conversation started.

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