A Village in Kongolo

The Village with the Round and Square Houses in Kongolo

The map of Kongolo

Kongolo, in the summer of 1958 laying on my bed under a mosquito net protecting my sisters, brother and I from the mosquito bites and 4 oil cans of Texaco to each bed post filled with Manioc flour and water protecting us from the Siafu ants or African ants.

We would hear the sound of the drums coming from the village of the round and square houses. “Get up dears” mother’s voice called, “we are going to the village and watch the Congolese Dance”.   My family would follow the sounds of the drum towards the village just to watch the African Tribal Dance. As we got closer and closer, the drums will get louder and louder my heart will start beating harder and harder and I started getting scared.

Dance in the Congo is part of everyday life, it’s about expressing their emotions through rhythmic movement, it energizes and re-fresh your body and spirit. They would wear mask and paint their faces and body, dressed in multicolored African fabrics and colorful beads. The most popular is the Bembe Cote bead, a deep maroon color. My parents loved to watch them dance in the village. You experience their culture, traditions, and lifestyle. It’s like going to the movies but you are in the movies!

Being the youngest, I was afraid to watch them dance with their traditional lifestyles, animal skin clothing, handheld shakers, rattlers around their ankles or waist, colored they face and body so I decided to stay in the car where I felt safe not my sister Olga she was not afraid.

One night, when I was staying in the car waiting for my parents, a little African girl with a beautiful smile came near the car and started to talk to me in Swahili, a native language spoken in the Congo she held her hand out and invited me to watch them dance with her. This little girl age 6 taught me to overcome my fears and decided to follow her towards the direction where the music was coming from and from that day on, I followed my family to watch the tribal dance in the round and square houses.

This little girl from the village taught me to trust myself and not to be afraid of new adventures, and opportunities coming my way.  For others entertainment was going to the movies, and for us it was going to the Village with the Round and Square Houses in Kongolo.