Catholic Church, Fataki. Brought by the Belgians in the 1900s.
the Democratic Republic of Congo (get that Atlas!) on the 18th of May. Here as
part of a UN msn called MONUC.
in Kinshasa (the capital) for about 10 days. Nothing
remarkable about the place except the abject poverty in the locals. And its the
fourth most expensive city in the world. Most pubs double as discos and are
dingy. A few are alright though. Eating joints are good but you have to pay
through your...well yes. Mugging is commonplace and security briefs (from
officials to your friends) often narrate interesting (not for the victim!)
instances involving UN personnel. Well if you thought the UN was amongst the
people rubbing shoulders, think again. At Kinshasa, UN installations are marked by high
fencing topped with concertina coils and a disinterested soldier manning the
machine gun atop a Armoured Carrier.
Its got its own buses and vehicles and is really an affluent
island, stark in the setting.
Before moving out for patrolling. Am resting my backside on a Toyota 4runner, our ride in the bush.
with the initial orientation complete, moved to BUNIA in ITURI district in the
East of DRC on 30 May. This place has seen the severest of fighting, though is
now relatively calm. Here I have been assigned to a Team Site 612 at FATAKI
(yeah, right...). There's six of us here. One each from Tunisia, Nigeria, Nepal, Zambia and Bangladesh.
Changes are often with someone checking
out (the Tunisian leaves in two days) and new arrivals like me joining up.
Interaction is great and tolerance is the key. The place itself is just not Africa. Rolling hills, covered with thick grass
and thicker forests with a weather to die for. And guess what, no mosquitoes!!
Wildlife is minimal, a fallout of the fighting with the herds having moved
North and West. A temperature range between 14- 25 degrees is the best part
These girls at Bule, Eastern DRC found it very amusing to be photographed. And I waited a couple of minutes so they could get over their laughter. Still what you see is the end result.
what goes on here? Well we are mandated to patrol the area (we have an area of
responsibility) in two Toyota 4Runners tthat have been provided for the purpose. We have an
interpreter to accompany us. The people here speak French or Swahili or the
more local Lendu. So we interact with te population to gauge the security
situation and make daily reports. Quite interesting so far.
I get up around 0430 in the morning, access the net for a half hour, go for a
run, drive up to get water from a Nepalese Contingent nearby, have my
breakfast, and am ready by 0730. Patrolling doesn’t start till 1000 so I spend
the time scanning documents in the Team
Site (earlier reports and so on). Patrolling is till 1300 or 1400. Lunch
followed by self taught french lessons for a couple of hours. At 1700 pick a
buddy and go for a walk. Back by 1800. Prepare dinner and am done by 1930. Plan
patrol for the next day. Being new I try to go for patrols everyday. Then its
reading time. Presently leafing through Intelligence in War by Keegan. Lights
out by 2230 and tomorrow's another day. So that’s the typical day with changes
on Friday when we have a barbecue that goes well into the night.