Coming from Khartoum, inevitably, the first thing you notice about Kinshasa is the weather. While similarly humid (I left at the end of the Khartoum rainy season), Kinshasa was a good ten to fifteen degrees cooler than Khartoum. And so green! It reminded me a bit of Juba, the capital of South Sudan. The next thing I noticed was how brightly-dressed everyone was. Similarly to Sudanese women with their tobs, the Congolese love bright vibrant colours. While the actual outfit is different the vibe and colour of the clothing is the same as Sudan.
I arrived in Kinshasa on the twenty third day of Ramadan slightly miserable at having to spend the last week of Ramadan plus Eid away from my family. Fortunately, fasting in Kinshasa was an easy breeze as the weather was much cooler and sunset (when it is time to break the daily fast) was at 6 pm.
The last day of Ramadan I had iftar with staff from the Sudanese embassy, and I enjoyed eating food that tasted so much like home. It was also fun to all hear the news together that Ramadan had ended (as the new moon had been sighted) and that Sunday was the first day of Eid.
The first day of Eid (as was the Kinshasa Sudanese embassy tradition) we were all invited to lunch at the home of the Defence Attaché. I was shocked at the number of people there. So, curious old me, I turned to one of the ladies at the lunch and said ‘I never knew there were so many Sudanese in the DRC!’ She explained to me that half the men out there were not Sudanese. Most of them were people that the Sudanese embassy men had met that morning at the Eid prayer and everyone who didn’t have somewhere to go was invited back for lunch. It was comforting to see that Sudanese hospitality remains the same even when you’re abroad.
I followed the colossal lunch with a huge ice cream (still feeling guilty about it even though its one of the best ice creams I’ve ever tasted anywhere) and a nice long chat with my friend. So all in all, a different but still very nice Eid.