On our second day, our board member Thomas Yocum invited us to his home for a holiday party. And yes, it was a Festivus party. (For those of you that aren’t familiar with Festivus, it’s a holiday featured in an episode of a very popular American TV show called ‘Seinfeld’. For more info, go here http://festivusweb.com)
I won’t get into the details of what “Happy Festivus” entails, but let me tell you, Tom did an amazing job! From the airing of grievances (where we let all our friends know how they’ve let us down this past year) to the aluminum pole (because it’s better than a tree), he successfully brought this true American tradition from a hit TV sitcom to Kinshasa, where guests from around the globe seemed both amused and confused by the events taking place around them. As a native New Yorker, I was quite proud to be able to share a little bit of our culture with the rest of the world.
At this party, we reunited with an old friend we had met last time. She works for the UN, and she was very excited to see us again. In fact, she had just read about us in the newspaper about our concert at the Japanese Embassy and planned to come hear us play. It was a fantastic evening full of laughter and lots of alcohol, and I had a splendid time. Tom had decorated his entire backyard with lights and put out long tables and chairs for all of us to sit in, so we spent the night walking from one table to the next, laughing, drinking, and admiring Tom’s backyard.
What none of us knew at that time was that Tom discovered a 6-foot Black Mamba in his backyard a few days after that. The Black Mamba is a highly venomous snake that happens to also be one of the fastest moving snakes in the world. It’s capable of killing an adult in less than 20 minutes, and unlike many other snakes that keep to themselves, they have an aggressive streak. Oh, and if that isn’t enough, the antivenom necessary to survive their bites isn’t available in Kinshasa.
I’m very glad that this snake didn’t pop his poisonous head out and ruin our holiday party. It would have given the “airing of grievances” a whole new meaning!