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G is for Gates (Congo Security)

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.

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 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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