Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Oh my head Hurts!

Here in the Congo it often feels as if time has stood still for the last 100 years and you are just an observer looking back in time.

Children are taught to carry a hughe amount of weight by balancing it on their heads. Walking is the main way of getting around in the Congo as few people have cars or other transport. It isn't a new idea, in fact it is an ancient idea but here in the Congo some things never change.

Every day you can see people bustling to get to the market. Their pace is fast and their posture erect - must be why they have such good posture.

I remember as a teenager walking with a book on my head trying to balance it. I found it very difficult. I wanted to improve my posture. Posture is not a problem here. I have never heard a mother here say "Stand up straight Johnny, don't slouch.

Enjoy these pictures. I have been collecting them to share with you over our whole mission. It is such a part of Africa.

big or small it doesn't seem to make much difference.
A baby on the back and a full bowl on your head leaves your hands free to do many other things.

Some people can carry everything on their head they will need when they set up their road side stand. Just keep piling it on

It is the way. Many women even carry their purse on their head rather than carry it.
This is full load!

Boiled eggs are a big lunch time treat and in the morning you may see a man hurrying down the road with the eggs piled twice as high as this man has. I keep missing the big shot because I am always so amazed they he will scurry in and out of traffic, balancing this huge column of eggs on his head with out any hands to steady it. I get so engrossed watching the balancing act I forget to take a picture.

Well, you never know when you may need a stool so you better carry one along.
We stopped these ladies in Mweni-Ditu on their way home at night from a day at the marked. I wanted the picture of the sewing machine on the head but everyone wanted their picture taken. When I had snapped the picture they wanted to be paid for me taking the picture. I refused and told them I don't pay for pictures. They weren't happy.
Learning at an early age. That yellow crate is full of soda pop bottles.Heeeaavy!

Nothing is wasted in the Congo. Often you will see people gathering wood from a fallen tree and then they take the wood home and make charcoal out of it which they will use for their cooking fires and sell for some income.
Want a scarf? Get it from the scarf lady. She has at least 100 scarfs on her head any of which she will sell you for a price. The price being double for a mondeli.
When you drive down the street you see people toting their loads on their heads where ever you look.

Aha, they must have got some new chairs at a good bargain.
When you have to tote a baby on your back and carry your bundles you shouldn't forget how handy it is to put one of the loads on your head.
Another crate full of large bottles of beer. We once saw a man carrying a crate of beer on his head and one crate in each hand held only by his finger tips. Again I was so fascinated I missed the awesome picture. I must add he didn't look like it was a very heavy load but we know different.

Women daily gather greens from the garden and tote them to market to sell. These three are dodging traffic as they cross a very busy thoroughfare.

My favorite has to be the bread ladies. Every day, several times a day you will see woman picking up bread at the Victoire (a large bakery). They carry it back to their neighborhood where they sale it Bread is a main stay and often people have a loaf of this bread along with a cup of tea for breakfast. Lunch may be a handful of peanuts, a banana or another piece of bread. The only real meal that is eaten is the evening meal which mainly consists of foofoo, rice and beans with ground greens and maybe a little fish or chicken (but meat only on a good day).

Where ever we have traveled we see people gathering sticks to make the charcoal. It is a very important fuel.

The hardest job is the toting of water for daily needs. It is endless and requires all to participate. It is unbelievable that a child can carry this much wait on their head. It isn't easy and they usually walk/run trying to shorten the distance to home.

The path is often steep and makes it rather treacherous for carrying a heavy load.

This is one of my favorite pictures. I didn't take this one. But I love it, not sure why. Maybe it is because it is just sooooo Africa.

Remember the chicken lady - another favorite from Luputa

Returning home after spending a day at the Marche sewing beautiful Congolese clothes.

Don't you Love it! Very African!

1 comment:

Tiffany said...

Love the pictures! I need to try to carry Mari on my back. Maybe I could get more done!