We must set ourselves to search ceaselessly for truth in all its forms. Truth is the only means by which we can contribute to our spiritual and intellectual development
We flew in low over Bunia, the river and the rapids
Dungu in the far north of the Democratic Republic of Congo borders on the Central African Republic and the south of Sudan. There are no government troops there since the local people asked them to leave two years ago. The infamous Lords Resistance Army is in the area, they crisscross the notional borders in the area attacking villages, kidnapping looting and killing. I was there to see what UNICEF needs to do to help. We stayed in sleepy Dungu meeting with local authorities and peace keepers. In the early mornings I managed to make some time to visit. Dungu is pretty much cut off from the rest of the Congo, in the dry season it takes three to five weeks by truck from the nearest town, longer in the wet season. A small plane or two run by NGOs or missionaries come by in the week. The town itself is collection of huts under the mango trees strung out along a river. As in many such areas mud huts rub up against crumbling colonial brickwork interspersed with electricity pylons that have long since lost their cables. I was not expecting the castle. A neo-medieval brick pile looming out of the mist over the river eaten up by the jungle. An old man collecting wood in the overgrown courtyard said that it had been the residence of the colonial Administrator and his first secretary. I waded through the dew wet grasses and went in, or rather I hesitated wondering what was in this hulk and then went in; It was a Walt Disney sleeping beautys castle, stripped bare, empty except for birds and bats.
The plage du peuple is where the people of the quartier come out to wash, laundry and get drinking water. UNICEF distributes chlorine to reduce the risk of cholera. The mass of people contrasts with the mansions that line the lake.
The old abandoned port is a about 8km outside of town. It is representative of so much abandoned infrastructure around which the people jury rig new solutions.
I visited two of our projects. One of which was supporting local youth clubs. The club was run through the local diocese. The committee running it comprised clean cut youths representing the different religious groups including Muslim and Kimbanguist. They had a hall for games and theatre and of course supported the ubiquitous football. During activities the committee passes messages on violence and other matters. I was lucky to have the committee and the Abbé take me to see the start of the match. The pre match rituals were observed with a solemnity that I have not seen elsewhere. The boys footwork was stunning and the admiring looks of the onlookers suggested they were the local heroes.
We drove the dirt road from Baraka to Kilembwe. The road is about 250km long and took us 8 hours. The NGO ACTED completed it last year. For the first time in about ten years the interior of Fizi territory was opened up, enabling UNICEFs partners AVISI & ACF to provide humanitarian aid to the population returning after 6 years of displacement. The road took us from the shores of Lake Tanganyika over the escarpment and the high plateau before dropping down onto savannah. Fizi territory, South Kivu. Democratic Republic of Congo.