Tag Archives: brazzaville

Canadian Thanksgiving


We had a fantastic Thanksgiving! We managed to make quite traditional dishes with what we could find in the Congo. We couldn’t find a Turkey, cranberry sauce, or yams, but we substituted chickens, sweet potato and cranberry juice ( that’s the spirit!) Pumpkin anything is not existent here, but that’s ok. Instead, Ariane, a fellow Canadian, made some French Canadian desserts that were similar to a pecan pie and some caramel. We also had an apple pie. Delicious!

Matt made the chickens and gravy, and I made the mashed potatoes, with roasted garlic and sweet potatoes. Also, in our search for parsnips we came across daikon radishes.

To add to the Canadian mood, Matt made an all Canadian music playlist and we put the hockey game (the canucks and the canadiens were playing) on mute. Really for our other Canadian friends. No football for us.

It was awesome to be completely stuffed and enjoy the love that my favorite holiday brings! It was such a success I suspect we will be having round two when American Thanksgiving rolls around.

Happy Thanksgiving Canada!

Tagged ,

Starting to Feel Like Home!

We’ve really been settling in here. I know I’ve talked about our local hotspot before, but I’m giving it another, well deserved, shout out. It’s becoming our “Sugar Bowl.” We went for a drink after school last Friday and we had a proper Congo evening.

Some coworkers came for a drink and some food, then left to a concert. Matt and I stayed and made some new friends! For supper we had some fried plantains, fried chicken and bread. For those of you who have asked before, I would say chicken is the most popular meat here, and you can get fresh bread everywhere….and cheap! It is pretty cool to be sitting on a patio eating food when you know that the bathroom has no water and the power has been finicking for the past week. Pretty trusting in the food. I don’t think we would have been so blas√© in Canada.

After our coworkers left, some local University students ask if they could buy us a beer so they could practice their English. We had a blast. One of the students was pretty good at English, so he and Matt has a great conversation. While, the other two spoke very little English, so I got an opportunity to practice my French. It was also refreshing to speak French to someone who doesn’t have a thick Congolese accent. (I’m having a really hard time understanding people in French.) Midway through our visit with our new friends the power went out, and it was dark outside, so we just sat in the dark and continued to visit. All around a great night. We learned lots about the Congo and politics.

As we frequent this place often, our server has been getting to know us and what we drink. Her name is Anais and she is also a University student. She thinks we are funny. I can tell she likes us, because last time I went to the bathroom she gave me some emergency toilet paper when I went in.

For my concern family who is cringing at this post, we still live like Westerners for the most part. So you don’t have to worry about us eating bad food:)

Tagged ,

Just a few pictures…


Last Saturday was one of the colleague’s birthday. Her boyfriend organized a night out, where he booked some local entertainment, and this local guy taught us to dance.


A really dark picture, sorry. This is of the Congo river and you can see Kinshasa on the other side. Pretty great place to eat pizza hey?


Pool party! Some friends from the EU invited us to their house for coffee, ice cream and swimming. Yes folks…this is their back yard. We had great coffee, homemade biscotti and home made ice cream. Oh my goodness it was heavenly. There was a passion fruit sorbet and a caramel ice cream, both amazing. These people in the picture are some of the teachers from school, and in the background are our wonderful hosts.

Tagged ,

A New Monday Routine?

This Monday some of the ladies and I were invited to an african dance class put on by some other expats at the American Embassy. It. Was. Awesome! We have this cool hip hop teacher and a guy who played the drums for a full hour as we danced. We started working on a routine, and I’m guessing if we get a regular group of people showing up, we might perform it in an evening performance.

I’m guessing that our moves aren’t quite as refined as our teacher, but he said we were the best group yet. And, as you may have guessed, I got really into it and now my back is a little sore. Is this what being 23 is like? Ugh! haha

Hopefully I recover for next Mondays class.

Tagged ,

Congo Perks

What’s that? You clean your own house? Pity. After a big of debate we have decided that while we live somewhere where hired help is cheap, we may as well cash it.

That’s right kids, we got ourselves our first housekeeper. She comes once a week, which means on Wednesday nights we can make as many dishes as we want and not do them! She also washes our floors! Which is huge considering our apartment is twice the size of our last place. All for the steep price of $10 a day!

Be jealous! Miss you all!


Urban Safari

We went out to a show at a hotel last night and look at what we came across! Only in Africa do you find a little resident deer in the hotel court yard. I know that the picture is bad, but it gets the point across.


Tagged ,

Saturday Morning!

What a great start to the day! I went for my first run all by myself and didn’t get lost. Then, I bought a baguette and they wrapped it in an English crossword. Happy weekend!



A Local Pub…

A Little Sunday outing! For the past three weekends, we have been taking advantage of the nice weather by strolling around Brazzaville. A popular weekend destination is La Manderine, which is a French bakery/lebanese cafe….a deadly combination! It is one of the few places we have found that serves half decent coffee, and way too decent croissants.

After our coffee, we did a bit of shopping then decided to stop at a little pub near our house. It’s about 33 degrees today and we had just walked for 20 minutes, so a cold beer is just the ticket.

I know you hear us complain about how expensive things cost here….beer is not one of those things. We enjoyed a Guinness for 700CFA each. (which works out to be about $1.40 per beer)

I won’t hesitate to say that we will frequent this place again!



Our first big art purchase!


We bought a painting today at this roadside shop. There were tons to choose from, in many different sizes. It’s difficult to see, but the painting is of people fishing on the river.

We bartered down to a third of the price. (And used more French than I have in the last month)

Also, the painting was too large to put in the cab, so we had to hold it on top of the cab as we drove.

All in all, very fun. Happy one month anniversary Brazzaville!image


The Brazza Bulletin Email

For those of you who missed the first email…Here is what has happened since we arrived.


Dearest Family and Friends,

Well kids, school is in session! I am rounding off week one and let me tell you, the kids are wonderful. In this issue of the Brazza Bulletin (I’m test driving this name) you will find the following:
– a bit of info on my first week
– some woes of working at a brand new school
– details on a surprise tour of the city
– some info on our night with les sapeurs
– and a comment on the weather

This has been such a rewarding first week. My students are very eager to get started and continue improving their English. My grade 5/6 class has 10 students and my grade 7 class has 8 students. So far this week we have been doing lots of writing and discussions. I would say as a whole their written English is much better than their spoken English. But, I expected that coming in.

Most of my students have been speaking English for just one year. For three of my students this is their first year in an English speaking school. With these language barriers I found myself spending 15 minutes on explain the meaning of the word “know” and another 15 minutes learning that “biscuit kwik” pronounced “bisqueak squeak” is a type of cookie.

I am truly in love with my students and I can’t wait for the rest of the year!

Working at a new school has it’s down falls of course. There are a lot of kinks to work out for a school in its second year. Firstly, the scheduling. This has been my nemesis for the past three weeks. My middle school students do not have art or music or any other option listed on their schedule. (not my call) So I am a bit choked. They should be getting some sort of option or arts class. The other headache is that our gigantic crate full of school supplies has yet to arrive. Apparently, it arrived in Pointe Noir a couple of days ago and now it is in limbo until paper work goes through. Such things on the shipment are all of my middle school resources, as this is the first year for middle school. No Social or language resources until they arrive:(

Next on the agenda, touring Brazzaville. Matt and I have been taking taxis any time we need to get around the city. Taxis cost about $2. However thanks to my poor French accent we were taken to the clothing market instead of the vegetable market. So we got a wonderful tour of the city only to tell the taxi driver that he took us to the wrong place. Needless to say, he was more understanding when we tipped him extra.

Now for Les Sapeurs. By far my favorite experience yet. If you have done any research on Brazzaville or the Congo you will see pictures of men dressed in expensive suits. These are Les Sapeurs. Most of the Sapeurs live in Paris and come back to Brazzaville in August for vacation. So this was a once in a year opportunity. We went to a club that they hang out in. As they show up, they are announced on the PA system and we hear what brand they are wearing. Then they literally strut around and everyone takes pictures. We saw lots of Sapeurs showing off their socks. Yes, they are wearing a brand name, right down to the socks.

Once it started getting dark, more dancing ensued. Did you know the Congolese have certain dance moves for specific songs? Luckily, we had some great locals teaching us the moves. The announcer also often welcomed us teachers from AISB and everyone would turn and take pictures of us. At one point I took a picture of someone taking a picture of us. The guy laughed and insisted on seeing the photo.

Another fun fact, the big night to go out is Sunday. Congolese people work six days a week, so in order to get a full day of fun and party before it gets dark, Sunday is the day.

Soooo, the night we saw the Sapeurs was the day before the first day of school! Don’t worry folks, Matt and I only had two beer each.

Lastly, what is a friendly email without a mention of the weather. Neither of us has burnt to a crisp on the equator. It’s been about 30 degrees everyday, but definitely not unbearable. Both our apartment and school have AC so we have been sporting the pants on occasion.

This email has taken me multiple days to construct so, that is all for now. For those who are eager, we still don’t have WiFi at our apartment so Skype is still only a distant possibility.

Les Sapeurs

Tagged , ,