Is it normal?

Is it normal to…

  • Sit in traffic for hours everyday?
  • Get asked for bribes or “coffee” or “fuel” by cops?
  • Be nervous and anxious every time you drive to work or around the city in case you get stopped by cops?
  • Having to wave or greet every single person you cross on the street?
  • Being stopped by a civilian claiming to be the CIA of Congo or “Agence nationale de renseignement, ANR”?
  • Having to pay 100-200 usd for a simple medical checkup?
  • Driving through puddles that are 1-2 meters deep?
  • Seeing 4 people on a motorcycle?
  • Parking your car only to be surrounded by street vendors and beggars and handicapped people?
  • Filthy streets with plastic littered everywhere?
  • Going on the river where people live on makeshift houses made of wood? Where huge boats are abandoned and left to rot?
  • Getting yelled at for yielding or being courteous to another car?
  • Paying 10 usd for tomatoes?
  • Paying a 55 usd tax in cash for every international flight?
  • Getting some tax inspector or court summons nearly every month at work?
  • When following the law only applies to you because you’re a foreigner?
  • When your car is in better condition than the taxi bus next to you but you get stopped for a damaged bumper?
  • When you need to show a passport at a toll gate between two cities?

Blah blah blah

Stop your yapping, you would say

“If you don’t like it, leave”

I guess complaining doesn’t help. Why write this? I guess it’s like looking for trouble… maybe. But it’s what a lot of people experience here.

It’s not “Congo Positif” like the hashtag on Instagram. But not everything about Congo has to be “positif”.

Maybe I should just shut up. Let the madness become part of normality. Because that’s what happens, you accept the craziness or tolerate it until you go on holiday or leave the country and go back to a “normal” place.

But how will you change it or realize that it isn’t normal until you acknowledge it?

By writing it here, it’s like saying “no, it’s not normal”. And you are refusing to accept it. By keeping silent, I feel like I’ve accepted it. But maybe there’s no choice and this is all bullshit blah blah blah aka venting…

Perhaps. Maybe sharing this makes it more bearable.

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