The Mornings here begin with a very formal flag raising ceremony, complete with all manner of elaborate pageantry.
I rather enjoy them.
From what I’ve been told General Djadjidja (asshole boy) said that my DRC visa was fake, one of the main reasons my incarceration is being justified.
So yesterday Pascal (the lawyer “father” extorting 50 bucks from me) went to the DGM (government office responsible for issuing visas) to verify that mine was in fact registered.
Obviously it is.
So, General Djadjidja was lying.
The other pressing problem is that on the day of my arrest I received an incredibly difficult to obtain, 15 day Brazzaville Transit Visa which required five separate visits to the embassy, where I was subjected to maddening bureaucratic impositions, like having to borrow a mans pants waiting in line with me so that I could just enter the office to apply.
My Jorts were far too offensive for the security guards prestigious African sensibilities, I guess?
But give him a dollar and he’ll dance for you.
Half of this visa is now expired.
Meaning when I get to Brazzaville I’ll have 4 or 5 days to get a Gabon Visa or Cameroon visa, THEN exit the The Republic of Congo, a jungle in its own right, by either bus or mini van.
Otherwise, I have to no choice but to extend my visa.
Which feels like the DRC stole seventy more dollars from me.
The military office and intelligence agency have both refused to notify the Canadian Consulate regarding my location, charge or my physical status.
They have prevented me from exercising a valid visa for another country.
Denied me my right to call my Consulate, my family or Lawyer.
They have stolen from me.
Subjected me to several dangerous situations.
And finally, they’ve prevented me from taking my prescribed Malaria medication for over 6 days.
All this amounts, in my professional opinion, to me being kidnapped by the Congolese government.
So operation I have Malaria had to be enacted.
Beginning with me no longer eating or talking to people, for the entire day.
By late evening a curious authority I was normally friendly with appeared and asked, what’s wrong with the muzungu?
I asked Celeste to explain to him I was dizzy, sweating and suffering a terrible headache.
That I haven’t taken my malaria medication for a week.
That I’ve been basically sleeping outside the entire time.
That I suspect I have been infected with Malaria.
In that order.
Within an hour a bonafide DRC “doctor” arrived.
After giving this, I’m not a doctor but I play one on TV, some of my generic medical history, his nurse, who was wearing a dirty Cincinnati Bengals jersey, prepped me for a blood sample.
No first person communication.
Things I’m not comfortable doing: 03, 04, 05, 06, 07 and 08.
After four failed attempts, the nurse accepted he botched the vain opposite my elbow, he took the needle out, put it in a grocery bag filled with supplies, ripped some cotton from a tube from the very same bag, removed a cork stopper from a small vile of alcohol, cleaned the top of my very dirty hand, took the ORIGINAL needle from the bottom of the bag and tried to casually stick me with it.
“No” I said “use a new needle”
Who knows where that bags been, I thought?
Actually, I don’t wanna know.
After the blood sample the doctor used what was left of my money to buy me a loaf of bread, a can of sardines and a beautiful, beautiful carton of mixed juice.
He instructed me to take a 1000mg puck of paracetamol and 50mg tablet of ibuprofen.
That’s a lot.
Ok, I said wearily, still channeling my inner Michael Fasbender.
When the doctor left, I slowly ate my sardines.
when I finished, I gave what was left of my bread to the night shift security chief, who then told us to sleep inside the agency’s foyer.
These dudes really wanted my Juice tho.
Sorry boys, this sweet, full bodied juice mix is coming to my dirty foam mat with me.
It was to be my last night in jail. The fact that I was sleeping under a giant framed photo of the Congolese president, Félix Tshisekedi. Was both poetic and metaphorically telling regarding the state of liberty under his leadership, in this badly damaged country.
I was In Casho DMIAP, inside Democratic Republic of Congos Central Intelligence Agency, in the capital, Kinshasa.
On a dirty foam mat with two guys.
Pretending to have Malaria.
For no fucking reason.
It’s supremely difficult not to hate the DRC.
But I don’t.
I do however, hate the corruption, which is to say, I’m weary of anyone with authority here.
Now that my existence in Congo is known by these vampiric authoritarians, I’m afraid to say, I’m in very real danger.
Go Go Gadget, get me the fuck outta this Congo.