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Kin La Belle...

KinshasaBikekos

Mboteeeee na bino!
It is with great pleasure and excitement that I'm writing this article today. Do you want to know why this one holds a special place in my heart? Well, because I finally get to talk about my beautiful country: the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Two weeks ago, I had the opportunity to go back to my home country and let me tell you that there is no better place in the world.

This time around, I had decided to rediscover the city of Kinshasa and act like I had never been there before. I went back five times during the last ten years, but strangely, I was never driven by the urge for discovery that I usually get when I first land in other countries.

I finally realized that the scenery was so familiar that my brain automatically stopped me from seeing the true beauty that was right before my eyes.

Having spent the majority of my childhood and teenage years in Congo, I thought I had seen it all. Reality is, I would probably have to live a hundred lives before really seeing it all.

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I grabbed my camera and decided to revisit places that I already knew and discover new ones. At one point, I got quite nostalgic about all those wasted years, when I could have captured beautiful moments. But, with that being said, it is never too late to do anything.

It is also very important that I talk about a topic that, sadly, many choose to ignore. I will call this part of the article "a CNN moment". And now imagine one of those special reporters talking to you :)

Unfortunately, misery and poverty are a reality in DRC as in many other countries. Even when we try to film beautiful things, sooner or later we will have to face those situations, but we cannot allow ourselves to stage them.

In my opinion, we have to show compassion and respect to people who are suffering and struggling by filming only what is necessary.

However, I hope that my little vlog will help you make the decision on whether or not DRC should be you next destination.

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Intro

Hello Hello !
What would you say if I took you along with me to one of my favorite places in Kinshasa?

"Wenze Ya Bikeko" (Art Market) or more commonly called " Thieves' Market" is a market where you can find all kinds of African handcrafts, paintings, jewelry, sculpture, ancient masks,...

Now I can hear you asking me: "Why do they call it Thieves' Market ?". Quite simply because the prices that are given to you are usually way higher than the true value of the object. At the end of the day, we will never really know the real price but the bargaining process is always the funniest part.

When the deal is closed, pay special attention to the merchant's facial expression. If he got a satisfying smile on his face, then you know that he made an even better deal than you did.

Wenze Ya Bikeko is such a magic place because it represents the extraordinary talent and creative spirit of Congolese artists and others. Once inside, you will quickly feel overwhelmed because there are so many beautiful things to see and many merchants trying to get your attention all at the same time.

I would advise to go around the entire market first, to get a general idea of the prices and compare them. If you spot a pice of jewelry at the market's entrance, rest assured that you will find the exact same piece a few feet further, at a much more attractive price.

Taking you time is crucial, because the purpose here is not the break the bank but to get a good deal. Merchants usually take the time to explain the usefulness of various objects and also the kind of material they are made of,...

Regarding my little personal experience, I would say that it varies every time according to my level of Lingala. Yes, your humble servant cannot speak the national language properly and is deeply ashamed of it. EVery time I go to the market, I force myself to speak a more or less decent Lingala and act like I have nothing to do with Europe, but my cover is often blown very fast.

As soon as they know that you live abroad, the prices are immediately tripled. That being said, I always try to stick to my guns and I end up winning the negotiations...Or so I think. Now, why not let the vlog speak for itself :)

2017
november
10 days in Senegal...

2017
august
10 days in Kinshasa...

2017
july
City trip in London

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