The last week and a half have been what some might call a bit up and down, but what we in the newspaper industry would call an emotional rollercoaster ride or a torrent of feelings. The Mbengueles from Congo arrived on Thursday last week and while sometimes I am totally in love with being a Volunteer Support Worker, at other times I wish I hadn't got myself involved. They say the first week is the busiest, and my boss Tracey has been a real trooper with me disappearing for days on end, but I feel like I'm spreading myself a little thin right now. Sometimes, seeing Benischou and Feldi, Alexis and Brigitte is wonderful, other times it's an exercise in frustration and futility. Especially when your work is pointless and your efforts aren't appreciated. Sometimes I take it a little bit personally, like them not liking New Zealand is them not liking me, but I just have to get over it.
Anyway, a little list of things I have learnt in the last week:
1. Another phrase for shopping in French is "des achats". I only knew faire des courses. Amazing.
2. Congo is next to Gabon. A country I had only heard of maybe a couple of times. That's where my family were refugees.
A little description of the family
1. Alexis - the dad. He speaks English, Lingala, Russian, French, Bembe, and some other dialects
He was a pilot and wants to work in aviation again but not flying.
2. Brigitte - the mum. She is very beautiful and kind, quite quiet and sweet. She seems quite bored a lot of the time, but has such a lovely smile when she isn't.
3. Feldi - the 13 year old son. Looks like his mum, has a gorgeous smile and loves to teach me French words. He likes it when I ask him about things in English, because he knows a lot more than he gets to speak with Dad doing all the talking. He's going to go to Fairfield College, and I understand what parents go through sending their kids to school - I feel very protective of this lovely sweet boy. He likes football and has taken to riding me girls bike with a pink bell on it. He looks after ...
4. Benischou - the seven year old daughter. She has wiry braids, ran around the backyard singing "Monsieur Jambon" the other day and is very scared of cats. When she saw Charlie she hid behind someone else. Charlie being Charlie he wanted to smooch with her, but she just freaked out. She wants a bike like Feldi.
We have another refugee - Patrick - a 30 year old single man who used to be a policeman and has an injured arm that looks as if it has been bashed with something. I must confess I have spent 99 percent more time with the family, so don't really know him very well yet. He is very softly spoken and seems to be complaining, but I'm not sure.