Posted on | March 28, 2013 | 3 Comments
I’m moving to Kinshasa, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, probably later this year. We don’t know exactly when, but we’ll be there for two years. I’ve been reading a lot about the country in the week since my husband found out his next work assignment.
I’ve got a lot of learning to do, starting with the fact that DR Congo is not to be confused with the Republic of the Congo. They are separate countries whose capital cities, Kinshasa and Brazzaville, gaze at each other across the river Congo.
Of the things I’ve learned about Kinshasa so far, the knowledge that it has a locally grown symphony orchestra is my favorite. Check out this YouTube trailer of the movie Kinshasa Symphony, which came out in 2010.
DR Congo was at war just 10 years ago. Fighting still rages in its east. But life there is getting better, by all accounts: the World Bank estimated last year that DR Congo’s economy would grow by 7 percent over the next two years.
This economic development marks DR Congo as part of Africa’s emergence as the world’s fastest growing continent. I had no idea of how far things had improved in Africa until I read this eye-opening cover story in the Economist.
I’m a little nervous about the move. But the landscape reminds me of growing up in Karachi, now a city of 16 million people. I feel an instinctive recognition, a connection, when I look at pictures of Kinshasa, home to 9 million people and Africa’s second-largest city. In its concrete structures and crowded streets, its graceful palm trees and rolling private lawns, I see echoes of my own childhood.
I think my family’s going to be fine there.