Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Five Things You Should Know About Drs. Mabongo and Djibuku

A Boston Blickbild Exclusive

As Soelden approaches, the fans get excited about racing season. They spend countless hours trying to guess who will win there and who will get the globes in the coming season. The fans also wonder which witch doctors will be the most successful and earn the Dave Seville Witch Doctor of the Year Award. One of our intrepid reporters got to know two of the best witch doctors in the World Cup: this year's Dave Seville Award winner Dr. Mabongo and this year's runner-up Dr. Djibuku. Let's find out what they have to say.

BB: Dr. Mabongo, I will start with you. First of all, congratulations on your Dave Seville Award. 
Dr. Mabongo: Thank you. It is a big honor for me to win the award.
BB: You are still the German ski team's witch doctor, though you switched from the women's team to the men's. Can you tell our readers why you switched?
Dr. Mabongo: I was hired mainly to work with Maria Hoefl-Riesch. I feel like I was successful because she won medals in both Schladming and Sochi. In addition, she also fulfilled her goal of winning a downhill globe. But she retired and the German Ski Federation (DSV) didn't think that the other women needed help from a witch doctor. But the men's head trainer came to me and asked me to work with Felix Neureuther, Fritz Dopfer, and Stefan Luitz. I already had experience working with Fritz at the team competition in Schladming and we got on very well.
BB: Were Felix's back problems caused by another witch doctor putting a curse on him?
Dr. Mabongo: No. Sometimes athletes get injured all by themselves without any curses from opposing witch doctors. I look forward to working with Felix with he returns to competition as well as Fritz and Stefan.
BB: OK, let's get down to the five things that ski racing fans should know about you. Number One is you were fluent in German before you started working for the DSV. How could you be fluent in German living in the Congo?
Dr. Mabongo:  When I was a boy, Austrian missionaries came to a village that is about a 12-hour walk from mine. They brought a TV with them and some young boys to ride a stationary bike that powered the generator to run the TV. There was no electricity in the area. There was only one channel that the TV could receive--the Austrian channel ORF. I learned German from watching ski racing and interviews with skiers on ORF. The missionaries and boys died from tropical diseases, but the village's boys stepped up to run the generator for the TV. By the way, that TV still works.
BB: Number Two is that you love ice cream.
Dr. Mabongo: That's right. When I was in Cortina with Maria two seasons ago, she bought me an ice cream cone. I never had anything like it before. It was the most heavenly thing I ever ate!  Now I have ice cream everywhere I go, but the ice cream in Cortina is the best. Everyone says that the Italians make the best ice cream and they are right! My favorite flavor is chocolate.
BB: The third thing about you is that you want to have a lot of children.
Dr. Mabongo:  I have 14 brothers and sisters, so I come from a big family. In the Congo it is normal to have a lot of children and I would also like to have a large family--at least 8 children. I need a son so that I can pass down my knowledge of witch doctoring. Our knowledge of how to be a good witch doctor has been handed down from father to eldest son since the world was created by a swarm of giant mosquitoes. I would like to start having children so that there will be a next generation of witch doctors. There is a woman in my village who I will marry next year. We have been engaged to each other since we were born. She also wants to have many children.
BB:  The fourth interesting fact about you is that you live in Germany for most of the year but dislike beer.
Dr. Mabongo: I am ashamed to admit this one. Germans love their beer, but I could never stand the taste of it. When I'm out with the team I will order a beer, but I end up just taking a few sips of it to be polite. I would much rather drink baobab leaf tea. That is the best drink. Fortunately, the DSV special orders baobab leaves for me so I can make my tea.
BB: The last thing about you is you are an expert marksman.
Dr. Mabongo: Part of growing up in the Congo was learning to stalk prey and kill animals with either a spear or bow and arrow. Before we are allowed out in the bush to kill animals, we practice with targets. I was the best marksman in my village by far. I was good enough to go to a regional competition, where I won a first place trophy. But because I was the eldest son in the family, I trained to become a witch doctor instead of a hunter. I still practice with targets to stay in shape and I am still the best marksman in my village. I can even hit a bulls eye when I stand with my back to the target and have my eyes closed.
BB: I will definitely stay on your good side. Now to Dr. Djibuku, who is the French men's ski team's witch doctor, who mainly works with the technical team. In Schladming he also worked with the men's speed team and the women's team. (short pause) Dr. Djibuku,  you became famous when you brought Gauthier de Tessieres to Schladming on a flying carpet. (see this story) This is a good lead in to the first thing the fans should know about you...you make your own flying carpets.
Dr. Djibuku: Yes. When I was 12, I went to a witch doctors' convention in Morocco with my father. One of the classes there was magic carpet making. I made my first carpet at that convention and I still have it. Believe or not, it still flies! Carpet making is very relaxing after a long day of mixing up potions and putting curses on opposing ski racers. In fact, I made the carpet that Gauthier used to fly to Schladming.  He has it displayed with the silver medal that he won there.
BB: The second interesting thing about you is your taste in music.  Tell our readers about it.
Dr. Djibuku: I love classical music, especially Bach's two and three part inventions for harpsichord. The harpsichord is an amazing instrument. When I retire, I plan to learn how to play the harpsichord. It is my dream to be able to play some of those two and three part inventions on a harpsichord.
BB: Thing number three that the fans should know is that you like police shows on TV.
Dr. Djibuku: Unlike Dr. Mabongo, I did not have access to a TV in my part of the Congo. Any foreign missionaries that came to our village were cooked and eaten within three days of their arrival. My first exposure to TV was in France. A lot of the people who work for the team like to watch police shows like "CSI" or "Law and Order," so I watched with them. I also watch other shows, but the police shows are my favorites.  My very favorite program is an old police show from the 1960s and '70s called, "Adam-12" that is on French TV.
BB: The next time Julia Mancuso's Go-Pro camera goes missing, we can call you. The fourth thing about you is that you are a very good gymnast.
Dr. Djibuku: We Pygmies are the perfect size for doing gymnastics. If I wasn't a witch doctor, I would have become a professional gymnast and either competed in the Olympics or worked in a circus. When I was 16, I competed in the junior division of the Witch Doctor Olympics and won three medals: bronze for the all-around competition, silver on the floor exercise, and bronze on the parallel bars. I can still do a lot of gymnastics skills and hope to compete in the masters division at the next Witch Doctor Olympics in 2016. Maybe I will win a gold medal.
BB: There is a witch doctor Olympics?
Dr. Djibuku: Yes. Witch doctors from all over the world get together every 4 years for a competition in all of the summer Olympic sports. You say that you are intrepid, yet you never heard of the Witch Doctor Olympics?
BB: The Blickbild has the most intrepid reporters in the business! I bet most other reporters never heard of the Witch Doctor Olympics either. Anyway, let's get to the last thing that our readers should know about you. Even though you are a major ski team's witch doctor, you have no desire to ski.
Dr. Djibuku: Correct. The idea of going down an icy slope on two thin boards scares me half to death. I am very good at being a witch doctor and will help the French men to do their best. But you will never catch me putting on a pair of skis. Some of the guys offered to teach me how to ski, but I turned them down. After all, the racers don't mix magic potions or make flying carpets. We each have our jobs to do and mine does not entail skiing.
BB: Will Alexis Pinturault continue to work with you, or will he use one of the Red Bull or Head witch doctors?
Dr. Djibuku: Alexis will work with me because I was instrumental in his success. He tried one of the witch doctors that Head gave him, but he wasn't satisfied and came back to me.
BB: One more question for both of you...After spending time in Europe and North America, have you ever wanted to become tall? You are both about 120 cm tall.
Dr. Mabongo and Dr. Djibuku (together): No way!!!!
Dr. Mabongo: I am the perfect size for a Pygmy. Why would I want to become tall?
Dr. Djibuku: Dr. Mabongo and I are sensibly sized. It's the others who are abnormally tall.
BB: Good point. Well, it looks like we are out of time. I want to thank you both for revealing some interesting things about yourselves to the fans. I hope that the skiers you work with have a successful season. And that concludes another Boston Blickbild exclusive interview.

The Boston Blickbild. Our motto is: There is only one thing our readers need to know about our reporters---they are the most intrepid in the business. 

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