mardi, avril 01, 2008


Hello Friends and Supporters of AZUR Development!

My name is Brendan Snow; I’m the new English as a Second Language teacher here at AZUR. Sylvie has asked me to write a weblog chronicling my time and experiences here so far, and I’ve happily obliged her.

I came here from Boulder, Colorado in the United States, so my trip here was quite long – 48 hours of travel, with something like 15 hours in the Moroccan airport in Casablanca. After what seemed like an eternity of trying (and failing) to get some decent rest on the benched seats in the terminal, my flight for Brazzaville departed. The flight was short and easy, and I finally managed to get that rest I was going for. I traveled with Royal Air Maroc, and had a very good experience; I highly recommend this airline to anyone traveling to Brazzaville.

Arrival in Brazzaville

When I arrived at the gate, Sylvie Niombo, the Executive Director, and Victorine Diaboungana, the Executive Secretary were there waiting for me. After making contact with them, and a series of warm introductions frequented by much laughter, we were finally able to obtain my entry visa. Soon we were on our way into Brazzaville and to my new home.

Safety issues…

The first thing I noticed about the AZUR Development center was the high walls with metal spikes. Of course, my family was a bit concerned about my safety during my time in Africa, especially with the Republic of Congo’s neighbor, the DRC, being engulfed in a civil war. For some reason when I saw the spikes atop the three-meter-high wall any doubts that I had about the safety in Brazzaville vanished.

In fact, we live in a very safe place. I haven’t seen a single armed guard or firearm of any kind since I’ve been here. I am easily able to take strolls around the neighborhood when I so desire, and even the American Embassy has confirmed the relative safety of Brazzaville as a city on numerous occasions.

I was immediately impressed by the center, my home for the next four months. It has definitely been lived in, but it is very clean and inviting. My room is quite spacious, with a bed, a nice window, and even a small sofa! Such luxury should be reserved for princes, not for English teachers. I unpacked my things and got settled.

The next task was to eat. Food was brought to me by Monestrine, the cook here. She is also paid to do some around-the-house stuff, like tidy up and even do my laundry. Monestrine (or Mona) brought me out some delicious beef stew with rice, and Sylvie and I ate outside and enjoyed discussing my travel, the work of AZUR, the English language, and just whatever it is that two people talk about. Soon I met Ben, my co-teacher of English. He is an English teacher (soon to be employed as a Congolese Civil Servant, no less!) who helps me with the Beginners course, as I speak no French, and also just facilitate an understanding of English in the students.

Assertions …

After many assertions of my gratitude for the seemingly limitless generosity of Mona and Sylvie, I asked to be excused to go play catch-up on my sleep. Everyone totally understood my fatigue from the long travel period, and they let me go rest under the protection of my mosquito net, which I did. As I was falling asleep, thinking Made it!, I was surprised at how cozy and safe you feel under a mosquito net. Although it is only a thin membrane of protection, it keeps out all the insects, a most welcome barrier. It is like nothing pesky, annoying, and potentially disease-carrying can come get you in the comfort of your bed while you sleep. The feeling is wonderful, and I was out like a light.

Brendan Snow

Aucun commentaire: