Friday, October 29, 2004


Today the DOCS compound is full of Congolese Army regulars who are providing a security cordon for the visit of one of Congo's four vice presidents. We are here to film more surgeries, but are trying to film the V.P. as well, as he is visiting the rape victims-- it would be a good thing to have in our documentary. The permission to do so rests with the men with guns, however, as always. We have been having some tricky run-ins with officialdom for our visas and filming permits, and the objective is not to let yourself get extorted any more that is absolutely necessary.

Only soldiers smoke cigarettes here, and they always bum them off me. These guys look great with their green berets, long knives and modified AKs, but they all have facial tics when you talk to them (you wonder what they have seen and done). The policemen here look even better as their uniforms are purple and yellow (Lakers?).

A detachment of Bangladeshi U.N. soldiers just drove up in an ambulance and I shook the hand of their captain, who inquired after my health. It's the first time that any UN people have been less than totally rude to me. Bad car wreck came in as well. Busy day.

We filmed Devon's school yesterday and got a healthy dose of politics, as the administrators were feuding and all the teachers we interviewed used the time to demand salary increases. It reminded me of a public school in America, except it was a wooden shack on a wasteland of lava. The kids put on some great skits for us.

The moon is full, the Red Sox won, and I am exercising regularly. Some devil's magic is afoot in the world!

Congolese Question of the Day: Mister, who is richer, Michael Jackson or Kenny Rogers?

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