Samoutou Family Blog
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About This Blog...

Family of 5 
from Gabon, Hong Kong and the UK   

Living in Impfondo,   
Republic of Congo   
Since April 2012 

Blog by Joyce the mum, 
Homeschooling novice, 
Eye Charity founding doctor / director. 
Reluctant domestic goddess 

Passionate about sashimi, 
helping people see 
physically and spiritually,   
and Jesus   


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P.S. This is the personal blog of the Samoutou family  
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August 12, 2015

Though I have been preparing for my visit to Congo for months now, it wasn’t until we began to fly down over the river Congo, its vast expanse bordered only by thick rainforest, that I began to realize just what an experience this trip could be. I had finally come to Africa. Disembarking the plane, I held my breath and smiled as we passed through customs, closely followed Joyce and her three Congo-savvy kids through the dense crowd of people, jumped aboard a Land Rover and disappeared into the night. After 17hrs travelling, we pulled up to Hotel Bravo in darkness, had some food, and went to bed. I am glad to have travelled here with someone who knows what they are doing, and the kids’ energy is good to have around.

Brazzaville is alive with the continuous soundtrack of horns and music, occasionally punctuated by energetic high fives that cannot be found anywhere in Europe. I love it, and have not been able to hide my childish smile at everything I see. As with other areas of Africa, funky outfits paint the town in colour, but in Brazzaville there is a special type of elegance. ‘Les Sapeurs’ are the flamboyantly dressed men best know from the Guinness advert, with whom I have had a small obsession since the Guardian did a feature on them a few years ago. Honestly, I didn’t expect to see a Sapeur while I was here, but I quickly learned that most Brazzaville men love to rock multi-coloured suits accompanied by thick framed glasses or a cane.  The air is close and hot and the streets are busy, but there is an atmosphere here which to me feels both welcoming and oddly tranquil. Plus I got a buzzcut before I left to keep me cool. It feels safe here, but the sandbag forts and truckloads full of military personnel are a reminder of a less peaceful past. Kinshasa, capital of the DRC, lurks menacingly in the fog across the river Congo. The two capital cities are closer to each other than any in the world.

We have been to eat at two of the top restaurants, though the prices fall well short of anything you would expect in England. We visited the tourist market on Saturday, but it is clear by its miniature size that Brazzaville does not receive many tourists. I think I could count the number of white people I have seen on two hands. Needless to say, the city is incomparable with any other I have visited. Joyce has advised me to be careful who I point my camera at – the authorities in particular don’t have any time for blundering tourists waving their gadgets in the air.

On Sunday I hopped in one of the Land Rovers belonging to the hotel along with Reol, one of the staff, and a friend of his. We were headed across town to a local English Language club, and apparently I was to be the special guest. This has to have been the most textbook, and by far my favourite, African experience so far. We sat in the shade of a huge tree, the amber sun slowly retreating beyond the horizon, and had a very animated debate about homosexuality, U.S. spies, and Islamic State. I was asked to talk about myself, which of course I took great pleasure in doing, and then I told a joke I heard not long ago about a chicken and a frog. I think they liked it, but they might have just been laughing in courtesy.

On now to Impfondo!

Guest blog by

Rowan Cassels-Brown
New Sight Summer Intern

Filed under: Living in Congo


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