DR Congo at 50 by Stephan Vanfleteren

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The words of 53 year old Albert: 'The first day I got the job I said to myself "you're in Belgium now, not the Congo". The Ambassador's residence must always be clean. I learned everything I know from the Consul General's wife: how to fill glasses, lay out the cutlery, make the beds. I've served four ambassadors in my time. The Belgians know how to run things.  Here, there's electicity on tap, it's not like being at home. We sometimes don't even have water. The streets are completely wrecked. Every morning I leave home at 4.30am because I have to start work at 6am. I wash and dress when I get there. Then I prepare breakfast for the Ambassador and his wife.  They are good to me. I have 3 children at university, but one syllabus can easily cost $15 US. So the Ambassador's wife helps me out. The Belgians ought to rebuild everything here. I've taught my wife how to make beds properly. And she's taught me how to write French. Reading is what I find difficult.'..