Destination: The Congo! Date: 14 May 2004 Time: 16:30 hours

Today Charlie and I went to the Congo! We flew through the night and arrived at coordinates 0 00N, 25 00E, which put us over Kinshasa in what used to be called Zaire (pronounced ZY AIR). At 1500 feet the air was very warm rising from below. Charlie felt it and he shuddered from time to time. The land seemed endless and the sky so great it made us feel like a tiny fruit fly fluttering alone in the middle of a great and open field.

Giraffe, Antelope, ran wild in zig zag fashion at the approach of Charlie's shadow. I landed Charlie safely, just like a bush pilot, not far from a cluster of thatched huts in the distance. Right away several children ran out from inside their huts to see Charlie and me. One of them, probably my age, carried a spear, but he welcomed me by waving and bowing. I returned the greeting and said hello and he answered back! I told him my name was Anna and I came from America. He said his name was Tanza and the others were members of his tribe.

I spent the afternoon with Tanza and several friends and they showed me how they honor special days and people through dance and music. Tanza also showed me how he threw his spear, that he was now considered a warrior, which meant he could enter battle and honor his tribe if it was necessary.

We went to a place where wild boar lived, but Tanza was quick to tell me never to underestimate the boar, and never to get close as they can fatally wound a person with their razor-sharp tusks.

What I will never forget is how the children delight in eating insects much the same as I delight in snacking on corn chips. Sooner than later the day came to an end and Tanza walked me back to Charlie. We said goodbye and as Charlie and I flew off I was very happy to have made new friends in Africa! I also discovered upon my return that I had a pocketful of Congo centimes!


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