Hello dear Sparkfriends,
I have missed you this last week while I travelled through Congo! But as I expected, after we left the capital city (Brazzaville), there was no Internet connection at all, sometimes no electricity, and half of the time no running water either!
(Here a teenager girl washes clothes near the well in Kolo.)
Even though it was hard to communicate with the outside world, we had a great team and communicated well between us. (Here having 'lunch' - usually bread and 'Laughing Cow' cheese which can be kept outside the fridge and is found everywhere in French-speaking Africa - at our hotel in Bouansa, which was the most comfortable we had.)
From left to right Richard, the English photographer (I have posted one of his photos on my 2nd blog about Congo), Alphonse, the translator who helped us in places where people only spoke BeembÃ©, and Christian, our colleague from our charity's Congo office who was just wonderful and took care of us like a mother hen cares for her baby chicks!
(Here I am having a discussion with Christian in Kolo... with the heat and humidity, my hair is a disaster, but it shows me typically at work with my notebook, pen and digital recorder!)
Here is Congo on the map of Africa:
There are 2 Congos actually. Democratic Republic of Congo (or DRC, former Zaire) is a huge country, as big as Western Europe. Nearby Congo (or Republic of Congo), West of DRC, is where we were. It is mostly populated in the southwest, where we travelled to. The vast areas of tropical jungle in the north are virtually uninhabited.
This was the landscape we saw the most... Green hills...
The hills used to be covered with forests, but little by little most of the trees have been cut (the wood is used for cooking on stoves), and now people grow cassava, peanuts, yam, sweet potatoes, aubergines/egg plants in these little fields. Many of the farmers are subsistence farmers: they use their crops to eat until the next ones are ready, but the situation becomes very difficult when there is a drought, as was the case last year. In Congo, there are two rain seasons, the big one and the small one. The 'big' rain season starts in September, and everybody we met were glad for all the rain we were having and were very busy in their fields.
The man on the motorbike is taking cassava cuttings to his field to plant them. We saw one tractor (at Bouansa's monastry), and of course I thought of LISALGB and the red tractor on her farm... I HAD to take a picture!!!
But 'normal farmers' don't own a tractor in Congo, nor do they own a motorbike (they would have to be 'big farmers' selling their crops and to have a good job on the side). What you see is women carrying baskets with their tools around their head like this:
But of course, people also have goats, sheep, chickens, pigs...
... and even cats! This kitten in Mouyondzi was adorable!
I am sorry, I realize this blog goes a bit in all directions!!! :) I am tired and I'll be going to bed soon. But I'll post a blog again tomorrow. In the meantime, let me end with the beautiful late afternoon light of Bouansa on Saturday...
Thank you for reading dear friends! I look forward to being in touch with you all in the next few days, thank you so much for all your messages, comments on my photos and activity feed and kind goodies!
P.S. Some of you who haven't been following my blogs for very long have asked me about my previous trips for work. I wrote blogs about my trips to Burundi and Haiti. Here are just two of them...