My First Impression

Democratic Republic of Congo Travel Blog

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Catholic Church, Fataki. Brought by the Belgians in the 1900s.

Reached the Democratic Republic of Congo (get that Atlas!) on the 18th of May. Here as part of a UN msn called MONUC.

Stayed 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.

Before moving out for patrolling. Am resting my backside on a Toyota 4runner, our ride in the bush.
Its got its own  buses and vehicles and is really an affluent island, stark in the setting.

Anyhow, 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.

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.
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 really.

So, 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.

Personally, 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.

melville says:
hi, nice pics... I've never been into Goma, but I was in Gisenye about 2mths ago (my 3rd time there). Seems like things have gotten out of hand in that area recently. Good luck there...
Posted on: Nov 15, 2008
heiss says:
Hello, I was also with MONUC from 2004 to 2006, as logistics officer in MSC:-)! I loved Kin... and just outside of the city, you have some beautiful & impressive water falls and landscape... but you are right the city is EXTREMELY expensive. reading your blog brought back memories from there, good ones too (lol).
Posted on: Jul 24, 2008
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Catholic Church, Fataki. Brought b…
Catholic Church, Fataki. Brought …
Before moving out for patrolling. …
Before moving out for patrolling.…
These girls at Bule, Eastern DRC f…
These girls at Bule, Eastern DRC …