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Woman’s Group Meeting
Woman’s Group Meeting, Kinshasa.

It’s true, and pharmacy viagra I don’t know how I feel about it. I was in a kind of compound before, where if I wanted to go out for a beer I would have to take a Congolese boy with me and we would walk on splintered pavement in the pitch black. Occasionally he’d throw his hand out because a car threatened to run me down. Then we’d get to a tiny shop with no lights on and ask for beer. Inside the cramped generic-cialis4health.com space was littered with imported rice and flour, and I would sometimes see the long tail of a rat disappear into cinder block. Two warm beers and a walk back full of broken English and French conversation. He would tell me, “American boys are gooood, because they have this,” rubbing his fingers together to denote fingers cialis 20 mg cut in half full of cash. I would try to explain that this was first of all not true and that Congolese boys had plenty to offer. He looked viagra online in australia confused, “No, you would not marry a black man?” “Aren’t viagra jokes you racist?”, and then I’d

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laugh a lot at him and he’d sort put the pieces together that I was in Congo by choice and walking with a black boy in the night. I don’t know, I just slept all day and now I’m awake until morning. In any case, I’m back, and missing my friends.

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Swahili lesson: Unataka kuchuliwa? = Do you want a massage? Tulia, samba! = Easy, lion!

Sarah Enid and Congolese School Girls
Sarah Exports the Peace Sign

I’m still in Kinshasa. I missed the earthquake in the East by a matter of days. Somehow, I forgot to factor natural disasters into the list of possible dangers. Here, in the capitol, my bad education continues. Over the past week I’ve met with high school girls, college students, parliamentary officials, women’s groups, a local private television station, and a priest. My list of fragmentary knowledge grows. Here are a few examples: There is a culture of NGOs in Congo which have been described as the New Colonialism. The only people with jobs in this country are those working for NGOs. Every other vehicle in this smog choked city belongs to the UN. They have a sweet set-up and they do nothing. They do nothing. They know where rebel groups viagra reviews comments are located. cialis how long to work They know everything about the Interhamwe’s whereabouts and doings. But instead they just act as a fat parasite, leeching like every other outsider who has their hand in Congo’s honey pot. Meanwhile, the Chinese are offering Congo a huge chunk of change so they can get at the resources. Congo’s belly is swollen with oil, as it turns out. So if you know Congo only for its diamond mines, well this puppy has resources beyond belief and EVERYONE wants some.

OMG

On the equally frustrating social scene I’ve learned that many of the rape victims in the East are ostracized because people in the village believe that they are cursed, or even that they somehow asked for it. Across the country there is a huge problem with sexual violence and general oppression of women. The high school girls I talked to told me that their teachers are always trying to get them to sleep with them and often their grades depend on it. And the real frustrating part is that when violence and oppression is the norm and there is also a huge problem with impunity many women don’t even think about their rights, or that there really is such a thing as women’s rights. I’m really glad I’m not a radical feminist because I’d likely get all, “I’m GOING TO CRUSH SOME SKULLS!!”. And I am wildly angry, but I have met is there a generic viagra a lot of women who are trying to re-educate people about some pretty basic human rights issues. So, there is at least faction attempting to influence basic awareness. If I come back to Congo again I have been asked to appear on a local private television show, they are going to have a special program. Yeah, hilarious and possibly a disaster, but in any case we’ll get that shit up on youtube. Barring any last minute disasters, I will fly out of Kinshasa on Sunday and be back in SF the 16th. It’s so strange here and I’m really going to miss it. The traffic is the worst. I’ve never had so many near misses in my is viagra blue life, and he roads themselves are really just a series of kiddie pool sized pot-holes. There are vendors of everything, in fact they stand on the side of the street canadian pharmacy online hydrocodone and

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hold out puppies to passing cars, Puppies. They sell crocodiles in the market and I also saw a monkey just tied to some log. We have been lucky to have electricity and running water almost every day. Often power lines get cut and stolen to be sold. I ate a pile of caterpillars, they tasted good. Oh, crocodile tastes like fishy chicken.

Sewing Circle

Okay, I think that covers the basics for now. Oh, here is a Konono #1 video so you can see what Kinshasa looks like:

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Sarah in Kinsasha with an Congolese Police dude

I have avoided writing about my trip because I don’t really understand it. I experienced my first real culture shock when I landed, maybe not because Congo is so different than I expected, rather because it’s just as it promised it would be. It met me with green haunty hills and gashes of jungle and the twisting spine of the Congo River, and then we landed and it was havoc.

Kinshasa has a post apocalyptic quality that I have now gotten used to, but at first, after flying for days I was out of my body out of my mind.

Congo is, well I’m having a hard night so I hesitate, but I mostly want to say, terrifying and fucked, but I will re-frame by saying that it is blood stained for generations, and the whole country suffers from post traumatic stress– they are survivors. Everything seems corrupt and in perpetual quagmire. A kingdom of ghost and guns. Everyone is stunning.

For now I will just give you some disconnected highlights that make even less sense to me than they will to you:

I learned that my travel companion was hit by lightning when he was a child and smoke came out of his mouth.

I watched TV with Kabila’s (the assassinated president) vice-president. Er . . . The former president had four vice presidents, and I hung out with one of them. His slipper fell off at one point and I put it back on his foot. In his office I saw a photograph of him with Che and another with Mao, and then we ate some chicken.

We were in Goma during the big Congo Peace Conference, and when our plane landed one of our interpreters turned to me and said, “You know, there are rebel groups no less than 40 kilometers from here”. The conference was deadlocked for a few days and in the end I fear that paper signing is the last thing that will do this country any good.

I crossed Lake Kivu, which rests upon a layer of natural gas, one crack in the basin and the whole lake would explode and the surrounding region would be suffocated by the gas. Seriously, they have exploding lakes here.

Laurent Nkunda Tutsi General from Rwanda

Eastern Congo, really. We had a police man from the presidential guard when we went outside of the city into the villages in the Walungu region. I just found out today that there had been another rebel raid on a village in Walungu while we were there. We don’t know where exactly, they could have been on the other side or it could have been a few miles away. Yes, pretty much scary, but I knew this going in.

I was able to interview a few women, rape victims, in Walugu, and interestingly I actually met and interviewed the same woman that was in that Anderson Cooper thing I sent you. I don’t really know what to tell you about this. It was disturbing, of course, but really my brain is only allowing a little of this information to register at a time.

The next day we were invited to a gun exchange in which a local organization was trying to get villagers to trade in their weapons for useful items like tin roofing or bicycles. It failed; no one would show because this would be a public admittance of being a thief and rapist. I didn’t think it was a realistic plan, but I was there to bear witness anyway. The army was there and then the UN showed up. In this region the UN is made up of a bunch of terrifying Pakistani men that ride around in jeeps. They were like, what are you

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white people doing here in this village in Eastern Congo?

A fine question.

And then I left the jungle and now find myself back in sweltering Kinshasa. I am trying to follow what is and has been going on in this country since the war. I now understand that Rwanda is trying to carve out a piece of Congo, and that the Interhamwe were once found eating UN food. I don’t know!

shitfuckmutherfuckingjesuschristbaby

ok.

Anyway, I’m safe still but pretty well frustrated and misanthropic. Well, no, not completely, but if you want more details I’ll try my best to pull together the fragmented mess that i know and have gathered from my time so far. I will be here for two more weeks, more interviews and filming and then I will pull myself from the motherlands dark loins and return to our white bitch of a country.

I am missing everyone something awful and I feel so so far away. But, all this said, I wouldn’t trade a moment in Africa for anything.

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Anderson Cooper in Congo

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funeralshockfront.jpg

Sorry Elana, but I have nothing to offer in regards to the recent city election. Tho it pains me to admit it, this was a year of pissing on the graves of billions– the poor subjugated people who have never known the sweet freedom of democracy. There was a moment’s hesitation on that fateful Tuesday morning, time afforded and excuses looking small and petty in the sunshine. I considered the candidates who would be spending their day in breathless anticipation for the results, I considered the ballot initiatives which would mold and shape my community for years to come. I considered the fact that I had given the year’s voter guide a perfunctory leafing and had no idea what the fuck was going on and then I considered making lunch and heading off to work.

The self righteous few who had collected the signatures or the money to land their names to the ballot did not speak to me beyond a general or focused revulsion. If Gavin Newsom had been challenged then I may have made a special trip just to mark one check-box, but he was up against local alternaculture luminary Chicken John, homeless cab-driving personality crisis Grasshopper and the slick would-be stuffed shirt Quintin Mecke who ran his campaign office a door over from my own. Having listened to his media savvy on the cell phone countless times I couldn’t even muster any sympathy to take me up the street. Now, had Chicken John or Grasshopper or Mecke had a chance in hell of winning I would have legged it double-time to oppose them but, as I said, this was a sleeper election at best.

I’ve skipped voting for candidates countless times, probably a couple in every

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election I’ve had the hard-won right and privilege to participate in, but I’m much more adamant about reading up on and forming half-baked, emotional opinions on local initiatives.

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which, broken as the bus system may be, is not the direction I would have things going.

Yet it wasn’t compelling enough of an issue to drag me off to the polls for another round of the ignorant ass awards, not this year. However, in the days leading up to America-day I received an interesting e-mail, followed by an even more interesting one. It’s worth reading the entire quote, people:

Correction! Election day is Tuesday, November 6th. We put the wrong date in our last email. Oh geez, we are so embarrassed, and so sorry for sending you a second email. This is the last you’ll hear from us. We promise.

Hey young San Francisco voter,

We got your email from the San Francisco voter file. See below for the legal mumbo-jumbo. We don’t mean to bug you, but we don’t have the money to send you something in the mail, and we’d rather not waste the trees.

Check out our voter guide to see what we think about the ballot www.theballot.org/2007/sf.

We just want to remind you to vote tomorrow, November 6th. Polls are open from 7am to 8pm. It’s so important that young people make their voices heard in this election.

Don’t know where your polling place is? Go here:
http://gispub02.sfgov.org/website/pollingplace/INDEX.htm
Or you can vote all day in the basement of City Hall.

Did you know that since February, only 154 new voters have registered in San Francisco? Crazy! That freaks us out, so starting Wednesday we’re going to focus on registering young voters. But for Tuesday, the city is expecting a record low turnout for this election, and that’s always bad news, because the Republicans always vote. So we’re going to get out there and vote. You should too.

We’ve been making voter guides for every San Francisco election since 2004, and we’re here to stay. There are three elections next year, and we’ll be making voter guides for young people for every one of them. We also throw parties, art shows, and poetry slams year round. Check us out and sign up to join at www.theleague.com/sf.
You can download a PDF version of it to print and take to the polls.
http://uploadway.com/files/1104/SF07_voter_guide.pdf

So please check out our voter guide to learn about the election and then go vote!

– The SF League

The League of Young Voters PAC (also known as the League of Pissed Off Voters) sent you this email blast. We’re not some vast right wing or left wing conspiracy, so don’t freak out. Don’t blame any of the candidates we endorsed.

We got your email address legally from the San Francisco voter file. You can unsubscribe from our list below. To take your e-mail out of the voter registration database, re-register to vote and write “delete” in the space for your e-mail address. But we hope you don’t. Email is the only way broke groups like us can contact voters, except for robocalls. But those things suck! We wouldn’t do that to you.

Paid for by League of Young Voters Political Action Committee (LYV PAC) 45 Main Street, Suite 628 Brooklyn, NY 11201, William Wimsatt, Treasurer. Not paid for by any candidate or candidate’s committee. Voter Guides posted on this site may not reflect the position of LYV PAC or its affiliated organizations.

If this offends you it’s worth continuing on to their website which is run out of New York, Brooklyn to be specific. Brooklyn, you know? Where the cool white kids live?

A couple of days after my failure to participate, my insult to the oppressed masses of history, I was standing outside work smoking a cigarette and chatting with a fellow wage-slave. A ragged looking, but obviously not homeless, bearded dude came out from the store doing his best Abby Hoffman, carrying some clipboards. “Hey, do you guys wanna hear about some, like, totally boring liberal stuff?” he asked making vague gestures with his hands and rolling his eyes. We both stared at him until he shrugged and started walking off. “No, I want more condescension” I offered but he didn’t turn around.

quintinmecke.jpg

The next week the hip volunteers for Mecke’s failed bid were clearing out his rented office. I walked through the sad-parade of ratty chairs and tattoos and suppressed my smug laughter. Taking the trash out later that night I opened our blue bin to chuck the recycling and found it had been filled to the brim with campaign propaganda. So had the next bin down the street. Thousands upon thousands of unused, never touched, never read, never cared for and never needed newsheet pamphlets were standing between me and a simple civic task. I had no recourse but to leave a couple of paper bags alongside the trash where they would be kicked over and strewn about before the evening’s end. I wish I had the guts to follow my impulse and upend both industrial-sized containers into the former Quintin Mecke campaign office doorway.

PS– The top graphic wasn’t specific to this year’s democracy hootenanny, it’s the record cover of Funeral Shock’s 7″ that came out last time Gavin was up for office. Local band you’re not gonna like.

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