Thursday, September 4, 2008


One thing about the Congo. They have GREAT bread!! You can find almost any type of bread here, very well done and at a reasonable price.

We buy a bread called "Pain au Cereal" -- a reasonable translation would be 9 Grain Bread at one market and often take it on extended trips. It stays fresh and moist even for 5 days.

But a favorite, if you want to lather it with butter, (and who doesn't??), is Pain Victoire. It's just a white bagette, baked at a huge bakery, with 8 or 9 bakings a day. It's very reasonable -- about 18 cents a bagette, and since you can always buy it fresh, it's great when loaded with saturated fat (a.k.a. butter). The missionaries can down several of these every meal -- in the morning, they dunk them into hot chocolate.

How is Pain Victoire distributed throughout the vast city? Well, for faroff places, they have a very efficient truck distribution system. But in the main part of Kinshasa, it is distributed by mammas, who come to the bakery with huge baskets on their head that they load up and then walk back to their neighborhood. The picture above is one of the smaller baskets, that a mamma will carry on her head.

You see them gracefully striding along the street, basket on top of their head. Some mammas buy a homemade peanut butter -- fresh ground on the street right outside of the entrance of the bakery, and you can have protein with your carbohydrates. I've tried to estimate how many bagettes they might have in a big basket. With the pieces of cardboard to create a taller sidewall, this mamma has two rows of bagettes around the circumference, with lots more stuffed in the middle.

Bon appetite! And now you know how Kinshasa gets its daily bread.

Love - Don and Marsha

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