Something that I would really like to discuss for this blog post is the state of the Democratic of Congo. Something that really seems to occur over and over again in Tram 83 is that several objects are really left unfinished. This is the sense that I get when I think of the Democratic Republic of Congo in general. Questions arise several times over what is left unfinished in this novel, but I feel as though a lot of the imagery that we are left with the book, demonstrates an idea for how things really are in the DRC.
“…voice that lacerates you, time had lost all purpose, we were in 2069 or 1735 or 926 or the Paleolithic era, filthy faces, bare feet, wearing loincloths, speaking unknown tongues, that voice, the tourists viewing their past, the diggers yelling that pride would prevent them going to Beach Ngobila and diving into the ocean with vodka and rotten mangoes for provisions, forget your wounds in a chorus of acoustic rails, walk the length of your thoughts and, despite death and the trains that depart and return empty, speak of the cracks within, of joy, joy as a rusty jalopy that carries you to your grave mine where you enter with no hope of leaving, in the beginning was a diva and her freight-train voice, that voice, that voice, that voice, that voice, that voice, that voice, joined by fatwas, angelus bells, the droning of the boxcars on platform 13, that voice, that voice, the Diva, joy means drowning your tears, your failures, your languor in a little music that is simply human, that voice, that voice, that voice …”
Mujila, Fiston Mwanza. Tram 83 (Kindle Locations 2559-2564). Deep Vellum Publishing. Kindle Edition.
For me, this quote really demonstrates the way in which the way of the population is glued to the mines, how they are all set in their ways. Something that I truly think is interesting is how the conductor’s voice really seems to be a large point in this quote, not only this novel, but also the life in the DRC is really driven by the train. In the video that we watched, we were able to see just how necessary the train was for a lot of these people’s lives. We find that even though this train takes multiple days to get from one station to the next people are gladly waiting around for it. The people of this area are well aware of the demand for the train. A lot of vendors will come around and try to sell as many things as they can to many people who are just trying to get a seat on the train. We look at the way that people are trying to get on the train and how desperate they are to get from one place to another and this is where we recognize the sort of living conditions that exist in the DRC. People turn from sitting in seats to eventually sitting on the roof of the train, and from there the bathroom. People eventually resort to instead of using the restroom, using pots for their business.
I feel as though this is a perfect example of how the author is trying to allow the rest of his audience to understand the true nature of the DRC and therefore create a political stance that alerts the audience.