I never expected that my biggest challenge in the Congo would be a white woman from Spain.
Although I have tried to spare you all the endless rants about the reality of trying to navigate one of the most tumultuous relationships that I have ever encountered (which happens to involve the same person with whom I spend every waking hour- who dictates what and how much I eat, when and if I can leave the extremely restricted area where I live and work, how much second-hand smoke I will be inhaling in the span of a day, if I will be granted access to the internet or electricity, and whether or not I will be the lucky recipient to serve as an outlet for her anger originating from any number of sources on a given day). Below offers a glimpse into my experience at a weak moment of a particularly trying day after an exceptionally grueling week that makes up a seemingly endless string of months enduring an impossible situation.
I often envision myself setting one off, seen from a birds-eye view, catapulting out of the green blanket of trees like a frantic, directionally-challenged shooting star, alerting some sympathetic flyers-by that there is an overzealous crusader trapped in the forgotten trenches of Congo, held prisoner by a manic, abusive, parasitic white woman who exists solely on cigarettes and the souls of those around her, exhaling an endless stream of smoke that masks the toxic force that slowly, methodically extinguishes the essence of the unfortunate victims who have unknowingly landed in her inescapable web, kept alive enough to quell her appetite while they and their fellow crusaders are whittled down to an empty shell of their former selves, resigned to their inevitable fate, forgetting the passion they once had to fight for their cause…or even what that cause was.
A side note:
This woman does in fact have some redeeming, even admirable qualities. Perhaps- on a different day, on a different continent, far removed from the day of my departure, when I can bask in my strength of character and proven resilience- I will remember what they are.