Sunday, March 30, 2008


This is an "incomplete post" -- there are many more things to add to it. But here's what we have for right now.

Wanna buy a used car? There aren't more than 4 or 5 car dealerships in Kinshasa, and not one of these has a used car department of any consequence. Most used cars are sold off of "used car lots" along the side of the road. Here's a used car dealership alongside Mulumba Blvd. -- each morning about 50 or 60 cars appear alongside the road -- there are occasional lookers and buyers, and then at night all the cars get driven somewhere to be stored overnight. Almost all the used cars here come from Europe, and still have their identifying European country sticker on them -- "B" for Belgium; "F" for France; "CH" for Switzerland; "D" for Denmark, etc. Someone buys them in Europe and ships them down here. The process of licensing, registering, reporting sales to the government, sales tax -- no clue what happens. But the inventory always changes and cars are being sold from under the trees.

There are gas stations, although probably not more than 100 for the 8 plus million people in Kinshasa. All the petroleum products are distributed by a government entity called "SEP" -- you see their big tank trucks. I guess the major oil companies have their additives blended in at the SEP tank farms. Diesel is by far the prevelent fuel -- at about $ 6.50 - 7.00 a gallon, government price controlled. Our SUV takes about 200 litres, or about $ 250 a fill-up.

Far more interesting are the street-side vendors who sell diesel by far smaller quantities, as people can't afford a $ 250 fillup. They fill containers and put them on these racks by the side of the road. Here you see everything from 4 litre containers -- the large blue containers in the top right, to litre sized plastic containers, to used Coke bottles, which hold about .3 litres. A guy with a moto may wheel in for a Coke bottle (about 50 cents) or a plastic one litre bottle (about $ 1.30). The bigger 4 litre fillup ($ 5) would be took big for his tank -- those are reserved for cars or combies that need to go another 20 miles. There are similar sized containers of oil -- very handy since most vehicles here belch enormous quantities of blue smoke. For some of them, I think the consumption of oil equals or exceeds the consumption of diesel fuel.
Here's your "one stop" shop for athletic equipment -- soccer balls, an exercise bike, etc. But if you injure yourself by exercising too vigorously, we have crutches, canes, etc. If you really overdo it, we can sell you a wheelchair. All out in the open, under a tree. Each night the inventory disappears to somewhere, to be carefully restocked in the morning when the store opens for business.

If you get thirsty during the day, particularly as you ride in a non-air conditionned combie, there is the "O - P" man ready to slake your thirst. On top of this vendor's head is a plastic sack about 3 feet tall (when it is full) and 1 1/2 feet in diameter. Filled to the brim with plastic bags of "eau pure" -- French for pure water. (Except that most eau pure comes from taps and non-filtered sources -- we would never dare drip out of an eau pure sack.) It's a lot easier to just shout "O - P", or as they do it, "O-P, O-P, O-P". A bag of about 300 mililitres costs 50 francs or 10 cents.

They run along the street next to the combies, shouting "O-P, O-P". A hand thrusts a 50 franc note out the window and the transaction is consummated. Unfortunately about 1 minute later, the empty bag will fly out of the window to settle on the roadside somewhere. Trash is a major problem here, particularly the millions of O-P bags that will never decompose. So they get burned, leaving an oily black plume of smoke boiling up into the air.
A very large bakery called "Pain Victoire" sells bagettes to mamas, who carry these large plastic basins of bread on the their head as they walk down the side of the road to where they will set up and vend them. Right next to Pain Victoire, the vendors sell plastic sacks of 5 or 10 bagettes at a price of 100 francs per bagette (about 18 cents for a bagette about 18 inches long). They are baked continuously during the day so they are fresh and warm, and very tasty (particularly if you slather them with butter). These ladies are selling bread (in the two large plastic basins) and hard boiled eggs -- sitting on the black plastic milk milk crate.
I'm not sure which furniture store "by the side of the road" sold this gorgeous sofa and chair set, but you can see the "pouse-pouse" delivery truck that is delivering it. Off to the side of the road, you can see some bunk beds which are being sold.
Here's something else that sadly is being sold. In the interior of the Congo, there are huge trees being harvested for their gorgeous mahogany and other hardwoods, and sent to places like China where it will be made into furniture. The logs are floated down the Congo River to Kinshasa, and loaded onto these big trucks for the 110 mile truck to the coast. Unfortunately the rapids in the river just downstream from Kinshasa prohibit floating them the rest of the way to the coast. Each log is about 50 feet long, and three of them make a truckload.

And that's how things are sold -- with the exception that we will add some more in a couple of days.

Love to all - Don and Marsha


Louise Brown said...

What a treat to see several new postings since I last looked - which was while we were at Darcie and Kevin's last week. It is so amazing to see the conditions there and the happy, happy faces in all the photos - of you, of your missionaries, and of the members. It is very inspirational. What a treasure of an experience for you, although I know it is not easy, by any means. The physical challenges are compensated for by the experiences with the elders, sisters and members. What a lot of faith they have to make the sacrifices that you speak of. Our prayers are with you!! It was great to listen to Darcie and Kevin's family prayers and each of the grandchildren's personal prayers where they always asked for "Uncle Don and Aunt Marsha to be safe on their mission" - never a miss!!

Love you

Keller Family said...

We always love getting your posts. Thanks for sharing the unique part of living in the Congo - hope all is well.

Fred said...

Great post! O-P is in fact a Kinois rendition of 'eau pure'. For some reasons, 'u' always sounds like 'i', as in 'MONIC!'

Mimi and Papa in Provo said...

Well, I bet Larry Miller could organize these car lots into something a little more spectacular. Ha! Very interestng stuff. Keep writing. Linda Rich

Mimi and Papa in Provo said...

LIVINGSTONES: John Knab's wife Julie passed away this week. I miss seeing something on your blog. Are you busy or something? Love ya, Linda

Anonymous said...

Hello, Neat post. There's an issue together with your site in internet explorer, would check this? IE nonetheless is the marketplace chief and a good section of folks will leave out your great writing due to this problem.

My weblog: rubber coated

Anonymous said...

I always spent my half an hour to read this blog's content all the time along with a cup of coffee.

Feel free to visit my web-site; phen375 where to buy

Anonymous said...

I like the valuable info you provide in your articles.
I'll bookmark your weblog and check again here frequently. I'm quite certain I'll learn a lot of new stuff right here! Best of luck for the next!

Feel free to surf to my web-site :: paleo meal plan

Anonymous said...

You could definitely see your expertise in the article you write.
The sector hopes for even more passionate writers such as you who are not afraid to mention how
they believe. All the time follow your heart.

My web site: dumbbell weights

Anonymous said...

Someone essentially help to make severely articles
I would state. That is the first time I frequented your website page and thus
far? I surprised with the analysis you made to create this actual
put up amazing. Fantastic job!

Take a look at my website ... advantage and frontline

Anonymous said...

I think this is among the most important info for me.
And i am glad reading your article. But should remark on few general things, The web site style is ideal, the articles is
really nice : D. Good job, cheers

my web page; phen375 uk

Anonymous said...

Howdy! This post could not be written any better! Looking
through this article reminds me of my previous roommate!
He always kept preaching about this. I will forward this post to him.
Pretty sure he will have a good read. I appreciate you for sharing!

Also visit my web page :: weight loss phen375

Anonymous said...

Have you ever thought about adding a little bit more than
just your articles? I mean, what you say is important and everything.
But imagine if you added some great graphics or video clips to give your posts
more, "pop"! Your content is excellent but with images and video clips, this site could undeniably be one of the most beneficial
in its niche. Great blog!

Feel free to surf to my weblog :: multimarca ricambi

Anonymous said...

What's up mates, its great post regarding educationand completely explained, keep it up all the time.

Have a look at my web site :: companion pet clinic gold canyon az

Anonymous said...

I was excited to discover this website. I need to to thank you for your time for
this wonderful read!! I definitely loved every
bit of it and i also have you saved to fav to check out new
information on your site.

Check out my weblog: free nightclub flyer templates

Anonymous said...

Hello! Do you use Twitter? I'd like to follow you if that would be okay. I'm undoubtedly enjoying your blog and look forward
to new updates.

Visit my web-site free nightclub flyer templates

Anonymous said...

I don't even know the way I ended up here, however I assumed this post used to be great. I don't recognize who you might be but certainly
you're going to a well-known blogger when you aren't already.

My weblog used rat hot rods

Anonymous said...

Amazing issues here. I'm very satisfied to look your article. Thanks a lot and I am taking a look ahead to contact you. Will you kindly drop me a e-mail?

Here is my site - adjustable dumbbell adjustable dumbbell sets

Anonymous said...

Hello, this weekend is good for me, as this occasion i am reading this impressive informative article here at my residence.

Feel free to surf to my webpage; 1996 volvo 850 breakdown parts

Anonymous said...

Yes! Finally something about cactus moser twitter.

my site; chevy rat rod

Anonymous said...

fantastic issues altogether, you simply received a new reader.
What may you recommend about your publish that you
made some days ago? Any certain?

My site: auto multimarca

Anonymous said...

Hello! Someone in my Myspace group shared this site with us so I came
to look it over. I'm definitely loving the information. I'm bookmarking and
will be tweeting this to my followers! Terrific blog and brilliant design.

Also visit my blog post armstrong vinyl flooring

Anonymous said...

Thanks very interesting blog!

Here is my site - flea medication

Anonymous said...

Awesome post.

Stop by my page; companion pet clinic gold canyon az

Anonymous said...

Excellent weblog here! Additionally your web site loads
up very fast! What host are you using? Can I am getting your associate link on your host?
I want my website loaded up as quickly as
yours lol

Have a look at my web blog ... companion pet clinic beaverton oregon

Anonymous said...

This page definitely has all of the info I needed concerning this subject and didn't know who to ask.

Also visit my website volvo v70 review

Anonymous said...

I've learn some excellent stuff here. Definitely worth bookmarking for revisiting. I surprise how a lot attempt you set to make this kind of great informative web site.

My weblog - nightclub flyer

Anonymous said...

Hi there to every body, it's my first go to see of this webpage; this web site consists of awesome and really fine stuff in support of visitors.

My web site :: paleo diet plan

Anonymous said...

Simply desire to say your article is as astounding. The clarity
in your post is just cool and i could assume you're an expert on this subject. Well with your permission let me to grab your feed to keep up to date with forthcoming post. Thanks a million and please keep up the gratifying work.

My homepage; ricambi auto multimarca

Anonymous said...

What's up friends, how is everything, and what you want to say concerning this post, in my view its truly remarkable designed for me.

Visit my site ... self adhesive vinyl floor tiles

Anonymous said...

My name is FurQan and i reside in japan .Working with the larget exporter of used cars world wide from Japan. I am looking for individuals or dealers who can promote japanese used cars
in african market. I think african market is very competitive thats why i would like to penetrate this market and
need people who are enthusiastic about cars.if you are a serious business man with proper sense of business and
experience in your field I am more than willing to work with you. Please post your e-mail address so that I can contact
you, and a detailed discussion with more information disclosed will follow.
or email me at

Anonymous said...

electronic cigarettes, smokeless cigarette, electronic cigarettes, e cigarette health, electronic cigarette, e cigarette