Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Standing on the Road in Congo

After the Congolese soldiers stole all their belongings Leonard holds one of the children while his wife is at the market to trade for food. Nine-year-old Belice, her brother and sister take a breath from the smokey cooking room.

Two, three SUV's with aid logos painted on the side of their vehicles fly by while I stand here with villagers. The trail of dust covers me and the villagers ( whom I now call friends) shake their heads with annoyance. Their food their homes all covered in the splattered mud from previous SUV's filled with the ever-growing number of aid representatives. While aid groups struggle over who gets what territory, life continues for most in the Congo. "We settle into our homes, fighting begins then we run, when things quiet down we return home," says Lenoard of N.Kivu,Congo. "The Congolese soldiers of Kabilla stole our goats, the wood I had saved for to build a house. They robbed our food, our pots and pans and most important they raped my nine-year-old daughter."
I am standing on the side of the road in this small village in the Congo writing with a pen and paper and will translate to computer later. The dirt road is full of life of village people. They have finally gotten used to my blondish hair and white skin. No one has pulled hair from my head for quite some time. My hope is to hitch a ride back to Goma about 2 hours south from here. This village is nestled between the volcanoes and the ridges of the neighboring country of Rwanda.
Laurent Nkunda's rebel soldiers control this part of the Congo. On the ridge overlooking the village is another group of soldiers from Rwanda. The ridge behind is a ever growing base of MONUC the Indian chapter. In front of MONUC is the Catholic church.

Walk back 1/4 of a mile off the road across black lava rock and there in a wood and cardboard one room house nine-year-old Belice helps her mother cook and do chores.


Stan Alost said...

Wow! Damn!
Keep at it Sherrlyn!

Sherrlyn Borkgren said...

Hey there Stan Alost, thanks for the comment. Hope you are doing good. Honestly the people in the Congo are the most confused I've ever met. Aid groups feed them and keep them dependent. It is not unusual to visit a IDP camp of refugees and find them sitting around with absolutely nothing to do. They are utterly and totally bored while Aid groups drop off lots of high carb food for them.
Sherrlyn Borkgren Photography

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