Monday, May 31, 2010

Final Training Meeting

Here are a few pictures from the final training meeting on May 6th before the loan disbursal of one of our first two community bank clients, EBEN EZER.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Getting Ready for the First Loans

The week before we issued our first loans to the first two HOPE Congo loan groups, members of the leadership team of the two groups came to our office for a final preparatory meeting.  The first picture are the leaders, and then the others include members of the HOPE Congo staff.




Rafting the Nile

Back in the fall when I visited Uganda, a big part of the trip was getting to raft the Nile.  The rafting company took pictures as we made it down the river, but not unexpectedly, the process of getting the CD of the pictures to me in Brazzaville took until a few weeks ago.  

These first and last few shots of where we put in and got off the river are by me, but all of the rafting ones are obviously by the rafting company. 



You could also bungee jump, but alas, we didn't have enough time to squeeze that in.



The four rafters on the right were the rest of my group: Sharon and Lambert - two friends from Rwanda, Michelle - an Australian friend who was living in Burundi, and Sentell - a good friend of one of my housemates who was visiting from DC.


All of these next pictures are of our raft.  At the end of the post there are a handful of the other boats in our group eating it pretty hard.




  The power and massiveness of the river were obviously something to behold.

Lunch break.






And here are some of the other rafts that went down with us and their wild rides.











Congolese Hip Hop

A local cell phone company sponsored a local hip hop contest, and I made it to the finals hosted at the French Cultural Center.  






As the pictures demonstrate the performances were widely varied.  Some acts were just an MC or duo and a beat, but others leaned much more to spoken word or performance art pieces.

The real show stopper of the evening may have been when the artist above decided to release a large white bird to fly around the auditorium and eventually dive bomb my section.  The guy below, as the bird made his high speed decent, just snatched him out of the air as cleanly and calmly as Kevin Mitchell when he overran that ball in foul territory in 1989.  Trust me, this bird grab was astonishingly impressive.