Wanna take creative writing?  Then do it! This is the course I’ll be teaching in the fall.  Exercises are at the end.  Find a group of writers to work with and go! All you need is discipline, imagination, and books!   Aims of the course: To make you better creative writers, obviously, and to introduce you to the world of creative writing– including those writers who are currently doing it well and successfully. By the end of this course, you… Read more

This is the life story of Aselu Celestine Luabeya.  The English version, with some basic history of the DR-Congo, follows after. Je m’appelle Aselu Célestine Luabeya. Je suis née le 16 novembre 1965 à LOMELA. Ma mère est TETELA et mon père LUBA. Mon grand-père maternel était le chef du village. Mon père était orphelin, mais a été adopté et élevé par un homme blanc – un belge. Après la mort de ses parents, des blancs sont venus pour sauver… Read more

And the priest says: “We’re in a moral vacuum.” The place is Lodja, Democratic Republic of Congo.  There are no paved roads and few cars.  People walk or take motorcycles or bicycles to get from one place to another.  Banana trees, papaya trees, avocado trees, mango trees abound, and the pineapples are twice the size of anything I’ve seen in the USA. The priest is Abbe Veron Okavo, a strong Congolese man who seems sometimes burdened and at other times… Read more

I asked to marry my wife, Celestine.  Her father said, “If you are a true gentleman and you love our daughter, come here in person.” I was asked to bring them a television and several little things as the bride price. I bought everything, and we went there “Give this, give that.”  Then it was over and we were asked to leave.  Certainly, not everyone was supportive of our marriage.  Celestine got messages asking why she would marry a poor… Read more

Incredible things have happened to me.  Apparently, I was not content to be merely injured.  All of my injuries were life-threatening.  From the time I was small, I have encountered big problems, never just little ones. Nevertheless, I was a very good student, always first in my class.  Of course, not everyone appreciated this. There were some who said that I was bewitched.  It was very hard for me to walk the distance between my parents’ home and school, and… Read more

 Oral History My name is Albert KASHALA Nzolo. I was born on December 24th, 1962.  I was born normally like any other child. However, shortly after my birth, I got ill.  It was not just a fever, no. There was swelling everywhere on my face, at the cheeks, at the neck and at the head. These boil-like things were called “bibons.” After two weeks, nobody could diagnose my sickness. This was the case for about six or seven years. I… Read more

Life History of Jane Elizabeth Manning James As transcribed by Elizabeth J.D. Roundy                                                                         When a child only six years old, I left my home and went to live with a family of white people. Their names were Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Fitch. They were aged people and quite wealthy.  I was raised by their daughter.   When about fourteen years old, I joined the Presbyterian Church–yet I did not feel satisfied.  It seemed to me there was something more… Read more

I have a threatening email in my in-box.  It is titled, “Paris is waiting for you.”  It’s from an airline company.  I don’t plan on opening it.  The title alone is terrifying–like a mysterious letter sticking out from under a doormat: “You will die soon.” I have heard from many of my friends since my brother experienced no fewer than three thefts in Paris.  They are concerned.  The message is this: How do we get to Kinshasa, DR-Congo without going… Read more

Thrown into Jail The policeman wasn’t much older than Tshoper, but his gait suggested his power—not actual power, but enough to demand money and threaten jail time. Tshoper was filming with a rented camera.  He knew he would now be accused of something and fined. Policemen in the DR-Congo make little money, and supplement it through bribery—or what they might call “tips” or “fines.” “Show me your authorization to film,” the policeman demanded. “I am a student.  I’m studying filmmaking. … Read more

Epic FAIL–or is it? We spent much of today  (July 12, 2017) trying to get a visa for Tshoper Kabambi to go to the Durban International Film Festival, which has accepted one of his films. His flight and his hotel were already paid for by some people who are aware of his remarkable talent. We did NOT succeed. The reason? He has to prove to the embassy that he has enough money to support himself in South Africa. Therefore, he… Read more

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