Rachel has been spending time with Axelroot to create the impression that they’re engaged. Just as the Prices planned, Ndu has been avoiding Rachel, allowing Axelroot to “court” Rachel. Rachel admits that Axelroot can be “halfway decent.” She’s planning to convince him to fly her away from Africa. In fact, Orleanna has already offered Axelroot her wedding ring, plus a thousand dollars, if he’ll get them all out of the Congo.
As the situation in the Congo becomes increasingly unstable, the Prices resort to more desperate strategies to keep themselves safe. Orleanna’s decision to offer her wedding ring as payment to Axelroot is a clear symbol of her decision to break away from her husband: she’s literally and metaphorically rejecting her marriage to Nathan in the interest of protecting her children.
Rachel tells Axelroot stories about her childhood and high school. These stories are nothing compared to the ones Axelroot tells her, however. Rachel learns that Axelroot is an important figure in the Congo; he claims to know the CIA Deputy Chief, various Congo chiefs, etc. He also claims to have U.S. protection. Orleanna asks Rachel about Axelroot, but she doesn’t share these secrets.
It would seem that Axelroot is actually working for the CIA, and can predict important events that’ll happen in the Congo (such as Lumumba’s death). Without direct control like the Belgians had, the U.S. must use insiders like Axelroot to act in their interests.