I just returned home from Zimbabwe. The trip was 11 days in total and I was there with World Vision to get a story for the winter issue of Childview, their bi-annual magazine for donors. I am somewhat biased because a lot of the photos I take for World Vision end up in this magazine, but Childview is a great publication with great writing and even better photos (wink, wink) that has just recently been redesigned and has a new fresh look to it. Check it out if you get a chance, there is always something to learn within its pages.
However, this blog post is more about my trip to the Democratic Republic of Congo (D.R.C) back in December with World Vision and a journalist from CTV news, Vancouver. Really, this post could be five-pages long because the D.R.C is anything but a well-run country. It is big, it has mines that are full of all the stuff we need for our smartphones, computers, and our vanity. The D.R.C should be the richest country in Africa, unfortunately for reasons that are countless the money doesn’t trickle past the warlords who run the mines and the politicians who take a cut. I was in Goma, which is a city in the eastern part of the country right on the border of Rwanda. Goma is surrounded by camps full of internally displaced people running from the rebel groups that are fighting for control of different regions that house different mines. Sexual violence in this area and in the country is matched by no other country in the world. The stories I have heard from women during my several trips to the country are shockingly disturbing and unsettling. It is unbelievable what humans can do to each other in the name of whatever we convince ourselves should be the proper outcome of any given situation. In this context, World Vision has started an initiative called Raw Hope, which gives people the chance to donate to a country that is considered a fragile state. It is an interesting idea that works, you can read about it here.
Each and every time I come home from the Congo I am perplexed, I am confused, I am frustrated, but I am also amazed at the resilience of the people who live there. With no attempt to avoid an over-repeated cliché; amongst all the destruction and hate, the Congolese are people who are kind and who can still put a smile on their face. Probably more than I could say for myself if I were in their situation.
The photos you see here are Neema, whose story you can read here. There are photos of Mugunga IDP camp, which is a camp made of internally displaced people fleeing the violence within their own villages, which are usually several days walk away. And, there are some portraits of kids that I had some fun with while waiting for an interview to finish. If you have time, do some research on the D.R.C. It is an incredibly complicated situation, part of it stemming back to the Rwandan Genocide that happened in 1994. Sadly, much of it continues because of stuff we use everyday.