Blogs from Goma, East, Congo Democratic Republic, Africa

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Africa » Congo Democratic Republic » East » Goma April 21st 2012

My legs were more than a little wobbly after the five plus hour climb, one that took me up an increasingly steep gradient, made all the more difficult by alternating stretches of slippery smooth rock and loose, jagged gravel. But now I was nearly at the top, just a few feet away from my goal. Before I mustered the energy to climb the last stretch, I turned to look at the surrounding vista. From my perch, more than 11,000 feet above sea level, I had an unhindered view of Lake Kivu, with the rambling outlines of distant Goma spread along its shore, and the wide, surprisingly flat plain at the base of the mountain, which quickly gave rise to another chain of mountains that mark the beginning of Rwanda. All looked verdantly healthy; all appeared peaceful. ... read more
Entering the DRC
Goma Streets
My Ride to the Volcano

Africa » Congo Democratic Republic » East » Goma March 11th 2012

Murrays travel schedule kicked off again in February. As you know, he loves to write about it, not! So bear with me while I try to document his trip. His first trip was to North & South Kivu in DRC for a final evaluation of the WASH program there. One of the highlights was seeing a gravity fed water scheme under construction, the women from the village were so happy that they would spontaneously break into song and dance. Another highlight was seeing positive results from a Sanitation and Hygiene program in Tongo. In January, 42 people died from 1 village. The people thought it was witchcraft, a study showed it was a malaria and cholera outbreak. Our organisation did an emergency intervention together with another agency. They set up a medical clinic to treat the ... read more
South Kivu workers
Gravity fed water scheme, South Kivu
Baby Gorilla

Africa » Congo Democratic Republic » East » Goma December 1st 2011

After a couple of days in Goma we were offered to stay one more day and visit surrounded villages. To come out of the city and go deeper into the country was quite tense, stressful and a breathtaking event for us. We were driving on a bad but good for DR of the Congo road and in few hours we reached our goal – a village where originally has been a refugee camp just one year ago and rebels attacked and burnt it to the ground. After a calm ride suddenly the energetic children began to run after our car when we entered a small village road and the driver was forced to put on the brakes again and again so kids would fall of the car. ‘Mzungu, mzungu… Give me food, give me money, please’. ... read more
Poor children
Showing the world
Concentrating

Africa » Congo Democratic Republic » East » Goma November 29th 2011

‘We don’t have any respect for our lives, the dangers from the volcano and lake is like a game for us. We are not like you westerners and plan for the bad, it is when we find ourselves in a dangerous position we think, oh I wish we had planned for the future. We are more scared and worried of our own people and in one week, after the election we are expecting something really bad to happen.’ This was a conversation we had on with a local from perhaps the most dangerous city in the world Goma, which is just across the border from Rwanda. Driving around Goma was like in safari where you are sitting in the safely and watching through the window to the reality – demonstrations, propaganda less than a week before ... read more
Close up
Local produce
Happy days

Africa » Congo Democratic Republic » East » Goma November 27th 2011

This was a detour that we both were not expecting and to be sleeping on the rim of Africa’s most active volcano, which happens to be in not so safe DR of the Congo, was a chance we grabbed. How we come to this adventure started a couple of weeks prior to this when we read a blog of another blogger ‘Freespirt’ who has done this earlier and left some contact details at the bottom of the blog. We thought about it, forgot about it and then went to a town called Gisini on the Rwandan border where we could see the glow from the volcano from this town, we were thinking again. Where we were staying we meet a couple of Americans who were trying to get into DR of the Congo but at ... read more
Glowing Nyiragongo
Old gear
Shooting practice

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Africa » Congo Democratic Republic » East » Goma November 1st 2011

Is walking into the world’s most dangerous city something to be proud of? How about walking into the middle of a conflict zone? Why not hire Congolese soldiers and climb on one of the world’s most deadly volcanoes? Sod it, why not camp in a war-torn area next to a lava lake? It sounds extreme, almost insane, but it is all a load of hellfire and brimstone to me. “Nyiragongo is a two-mile-high volcano towering over the eastern edge of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)—one of the world’s most active volcanoes. When? Is the question that haunts a team of Congolese Seismologists; when will Nyiragongo erupt?” (Finkle, 2011, National Geographic) Arriving in Kigali (Rwanda) and hearing about the possibility of visiting an active and deadly volcano strangely appealed. Realizing the volcanic creator contains the ... read more
Hellsfire & Brimstone
Fire, Gas & Acid Clouds
National Park Sign Full Of Bullet Holes

Africa » Congo Democratic Republic » East » Goma October 28th 2011

As you pass a United Nations sniper tower, a truck loaded with mercenary’s thunders past holding rocket launchers, machetes and AK47′s. While political activists rally for the looming elections, Congolese soldiers dressed like Rambo carry mounted machine guns to protect road blocks around the city. With armoured vehicles at every intersection, and police patrolling the streets, helicopter gunships hover above watching your every move. Attempting to enter a conflict zone on a tourist visa is surreal, the fact that it is even possible a mind-blowing experience. Realizing that the British Foreign Office has travel restrictions in place invalidating your insurance policy the reality. With tourist visa #479 it quickly becomes clear that only Non Government Organisations and the most intrepid travellers dare visit the Kivu province in the Eastern Congo. Delayed at the Gisenyi border ... read more
United Nations Truck
Political Rally
Refugee Children

Africa » Congo Democratic Republic » East » Goma February 1st 2011

A second deadly attack in less than a week by FDLR Rwandan militia in the Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic has left one ranger dead and one seriously injured. Both the driver who is in hospital and Ranger Muhindo Mburungani (who was killed instantly) were part of a civilian protection unit positioned along the road. The attack too place about 180 km north of the city of Goma and west of Lake Edward. Their attackers have not yet been apprehended. . According to officials in the area, it is believed that an influx of about 700 FDLR militia may be positioned in the area. The militia group is an illegal movement believed to include the perpetrators of the Rwandan genocide in 1994. The parks of the eastern DRC are home to half the world ... read more

Africa » Congo Democratic Republic » East » Goma December 16th 2010

After numerous obstacles encouraging me to give up I couldn’t help but grin myself to sleep. I just hadn’t given up on a destination I had craved to see. Yes I finally gave into corruption but it was so worth it. The sounds of waves crashing into each other, the strong breeze hitting our tent with such force I thought I was going to be lifted off and boiled to death. But we were in the middle of Africa and nowhere near the ocean. We were close to a timid lake and 3470m high. It took 5 hours to hike it, two attempts to enter it but at last after never giving up the thought. I had finally reached Congo and I climbed, than slept on the craters edge of a live bubbling volcano. As previously ... read more
1 - The hikes reward
2 - the morning view upon the craters edge
4- CHUKUDU - wooden bike

Africa » Congo Democratic Republic » East » Goma October 10th 2010

We have made our way across Kenya staying at some spectacular campsites. One of which sits on the banks of the Nile as it is fed by Lake Victoria. This was just a stopover and we are due back there to enjoy it more on our way back to Nairobi. Uganda is calling so we are cutting through Kenya to get there. Over the whole trip we have covered some extraordinary terrain. We started with the very dry flat, almost desert like countryside of Southern Africa, through lush river delta's up to the lakesides and coastal roads of East Africa. The further north we have progressed and as our altitude has increased towards the equator we have been faced with an altogether different landscape. The land is primarily agricultural with plantations as far as the eye ... read more
DRC Farmland
Jambo!!!
Kingsize




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