After our long day of teaching in Ngiri-Ngiri, Kaori and I rushed back to the house to throw another party for our friends. As we spend our days teaching music outdoors, we were both in need of a good shower before we got ready prepping the Japanese dishes we wanted to serve our guests.
One tricky thing about throwing a party in Kinshasa is that you never know what you’ll be able to buy at the supermarket. And even if you do find what you’re looking for, it’s not always easy to tell whether the product is fresh or not. For example, one day, the store may only have rotten tomatoes, or just a ton of slimy mushrooms. Other times, all the produce may look quite nice and fresh. The day we went to the market, not many greens looked fresh, but we were able to pick out a handful of not-so squishy potatoes, so we ended up making a potato salad instead of a green salad. And yes, just like last time, we brought an extra suitcase full of Japanese spices and seasonings, so combining what we found at the supermarket along with our assortment of personally imported sesame oil, soy sauce, mirin, kewpie mayonnaise, sesame dressing, 10 cups of rice, wakame, and lots of Japanese snacks, I’m proud to say we threw another fantastic party!
We made chirashi rice, a seaweed salad, a teriyaki stir-fry, rice balls, and potato salad with Japanese mayonnaise. Everyone seemed to enjoy the food, and Kaori and I also performed a few works on Flute for our guests. Much like the orchestra musicians, we heard so many people at the party say to us, “It’s nice that you guys said you were going to come back, and then you actually did!”
I guess there are many people that conduct their reconnaissance for work they wish to do in Kinshasa, and never make it back to actually begin their projects. People were impressed that Kaori and I had done our research in July, and had already come back to begin work within the same year.
Just to be clear, I don’t think returning to Kinshasa after doing some preliminary research is always the right choice, or that we’re better than a lot of these people that didn’t return, just because we were able to. I’m sure many organizations wisely choose not to start their work in Kinshasa after observing the harsh realities of that city. DR Congo is simply not ready for many things yet, and even if you have a brilliant idea, funding is always a challenge.
Nevertheless, I’m happy we got to find a way to go back so soon, with a project that many seem to think will work here, because as it turns out, it was simply the best way for us to convince both the musicians and the NGO community that Kaori and I were committed to Kinshasa and to the musicians there. We were able to begin establishing trust and further many relations that we had previously established, plush it’s always nice to have people think of you fondly because you know how to throw a fabulous party.
Hmmmm. I wonder what kind of food we’ll be serving at our next party??