On an early morning in Bangui, we sat down on a rickety wooden bench for sweet watery coffee and deep-fried beignets, a typical breakfast for people who can afford to spend only the equivalent of two dollars a day, perhaps less. We had come to the neighborhood to see if there were still people camping at the church grounds overnight for fear of attacks; they were no longer there, which was a good sign, an indication that it was safe to sleep at home. It’s on mornings like these that we saw a glimpse of daily life as it must have been before the conflict broke out and more than a million people were displaced: a cheerful man in a car, someone with a job, stopped by and bought a handful of beignets for the children idling hungrily near the stall; a tall, graceful woman chatted for a few minutes with the coffee lady. Nobody questioned why we, wealthy foreigners with expensive cameras, just sat there and observed. It was a moment of peace, and we briefly felt as if we belonged.