Tyson´s Travels

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The Nunnery at St Anne’s- Brazzaville, Congo – July 2017


“I still need a toilet,” I said to the guide for the third time in twenty minutes. “Ask the nuns,” she said. We had just shown up at a nunnery in Brazzaville hoping to camp. So I walked up to a slightly older East Indian nun who would have been passable without her thick leg hair”. Let me show you where to camp,” she said before I could speak. A small group of us followed her as she moved off. I gave up and watered the bushes behind a shipping container.

It was a full hour before the nuns showed us where the toilets were. There was an outhouse next to a mysterious huge steaming mound of earth that omitted a deep smoky scent that masked the outhouse stench until you were inside. Much better was the squat toilet attached to an inner wall in the garden that seemed to be an afterthought.


That night I asked about showers and was led to the garden wall toilet. “But there is only a bucket in their. Surely there must be a real shower,” I stated. One of the girls overheard. “Try squatting on the toilet. The leaking pipes are guaranteed to soak right through your clothing as you squat. Oh and be careful when you flush then it’s really like a shower. You men are lucky you don’t even need to go in there,” she contributed. “I do as I need a shower,” I said really not registering what she meant.

The nunnery was an ok place to stay other then the bathroom facilities and the thievery from the Christian worshippers passing through. The other problem was the drumming from across the tiny sewage like creek at the edge of the property. At all hours of the night (and day) it sounded like a wild party. Strangely no one really wanted to investigate except Anita. So we went.


The sign read Pentecostal Church in front of what looked like an endless tin roof. We walked further down the drive until we came across an English speaker. “Can we look,” we asked. “Why?”, he stated bluntly. “Well we are staying in the nunnery across the stream and we hear drumming all night. What is this place?”, Anita asked.

“It’s like a hospital. We use prayer and traditional drumming to heal the mad and the very ill. First the drummers drum for the mad people before heading over to the sick people in beds. We drum about 8 times per day,” he stated. I thought about remarking on how maybe a little less drumming may give the crazy and sick much needed sleep but I decided not to. Under the roof was stinking hot. The whole place looked like a poorly covered parking lot with a cheap apartment block rising up from the middle. At no point did he point at the building which looked unconnected to the hustle and bustle around us. “Come back at noon when the drummers start again,” he said.


On further investigation the smoking mound of earth at the nunnery was a charcoal mound. For some reason the nuns were making charcoal in the middle of the city.


Christians worshippers or possibly the gardener stole my power bank and someone’s electric shaver. “Don’t trust the worshippers,” stated the nun missing the irony in her comment when we asked if she had seen the missing items.



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This entry was posted on July 26, 2017 by in Africa, Uncategorized and tagged , .

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