Called the “rape capital of the world”, the Democratic Republic of the Congo is one of the most consistently reported on countries in sub-Saharan Africa. However, rarely is the news good. Media reports on D.R.C. center mostly on conflict and rape happening in the Kivu Provinces that border Rwanda, Burundi, and Uganda in the eastern part of the country. Naturally, most of the external media outlets and NGOs have focused their efforts in the regional hub Goma. But this also means that the world receives a negatively slanted version of events in D.R.C.
Congo as I know it is far from being a “heart of darkness”. Here in Kisangani, people are vibrant, the food is delicious and plentiful, and there has been little organized violence since 2001. The local economy benefits from being uniquely situated on one of the most inland ports in the world. Yes – the people are poor. But there is still a strong sense of hope and survival here that I haven’t experienced anywhere else. Rather than asking for a hand out, the Boyomais (citizens of Kisangani) ask for a hand up.
Foreign Policy ran a great piece on hope in the D.R. Congo this week. It’s the first uplifting story on the Congo I’ve seen in a long time. Check it out here.
(H/T Miguel Gonzalez for the FP story).