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G is for Gates (Congo Security)

08 Apr
Rebar view from inside our education mission.

Rebar view from inside our education mission.

(A to Z Blogs April 2015 – Back to Africa)

Alone in our room, my niece and I stay up late talking. At one point there is a lull and my gaze rests on the window, the screen, the metal frame built around the glass and the bars outside. Gates and bars are everywhere. In the US a “bad” neighborhood is sometimes recognizable by such additions. If we keep thinking that way, all of this East Congo city we’re visiting appears to be the bad neighborhood.

Every property a gate, every window with bars, every gate a guard. Security? The rebar view of life.

The decorative window bars on our room.

The decorative window bars on our room.

“The bars should make me feel secure,” I say to my niece. “Instead the need for the bars makes me a little anxious.”

“Yeah,” she says. “I was thinking the same thing. It made me wonder if I was going to wake in the middle of the night to someone trying to get in.”

“No,” I say.

We play a game on my iPad and talk till midnight. Then we both sleep very well.

Solid metal gate, though most I saw were dark and had one small section that opened for the guard or folks on foot.

Solid metal gate, though most I saw were dark and had one small section that opened for the guard or folks on foot.

______________________

 Kristin King is an author, publisher and co-founder of the nonprofit Future Hope Africa which is based in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. She is from Kentucky (USA) and lives as an expat in Holland.

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3 responses to “G is for Gates (Congo Security)

  1. kristinkingauthor

    April 10, 2015 at 9:18 pm

    What hasn’t prompted the gates? They weren’t there before the Hutu and Tutsi conflict in Rwanda streamed over. 25 years of conflict, border violence, and wide-spread poverty have scarred the area.

    But Curacao! Congrats on your location. My husband said it was like someone took Arizona, moved it to a tropical island and painted it with Caribbean culture. We’re in the colder part of the Netherlands–and my husband wrote a bit about the differences in this blog. http://wp.me/p8Fvh-yx

     
  2. Irene Kucholick

    April 9, 2015 at 3:19 am

    In most African countries they have bars on their windows. We used to accept them as security and that was that. We even had a Fence around the house covered with straw matts. But in the three years we lived in Ethiopia only once something happened and that was minimal. I am following your report and I am very interested. IRENE

     
  3. Guilie Castillo

    April 8, 2015 at 5:16 pm

    Bars (and heavy-duty glass and barbed wire on walls) make me nervous, too. What has happened that prompted them? Maybe that’s why I’m so happy in Curaçao… Even though locals say crime is super high (and in Holland Curaçao’s reputation is horrible, as you probably know), to me it feels like the safest place on Earth. (But I’m from Mexico–ha!)
    Guilie @ Quiet Laughter (fellow expat, fellow writer)

     

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