I spent almost 2 years working in some of the most remote regions of the DR Congo.
Firstly in the southern province of Katanga where I lived in a the small city of Kalemie on the shores of Lake Tanganyika, the worlds second largest fresh water lake.
Kalemie, home to 150,000 people, is only really accessible by air and is reliant on a small antiquated hydroelectric power station many miles to the north to power the whole city including the water company. When the turbine inevitably broke after years of poor maintenance Kalemie was cut off and remained without power and “clean” water for 5 months. It did not take long for the water company to exhaust it’s emergency reserve of diesel for it’s generators which was followed by two outbreaks of cholera as the population took to the lake for their drinking water.

And secondly in North Kivu, a region that has become synonymous with conflict and suffering. It’s enormous mineral wealth has attracted rebels both foreign and domestic whose decades old fight for control of the region has taken millions of lives and continues to the present day.
The whole area is surrounded by volcanoes the largest Nyiragongo, which last erupted in 2002, has the worlds largest lava lake whose glow is clearly visible at night.

I was living in a small town called Kitchanga about a 5 hour drive from the regional capital Goma. Kitchanga and the surrounding area hosts many displaced people from within Kivu in numerous camps, some of these are refugees that have fled Rwanda following the 1994 genocide and others are more recent arrivals that have escaped from different conflicts too numerous to list between various “Mai Mai” groups, the M23 rebels and the Congolese army (FARDC).

In February 2013 rebels from the APCLS (Alliance des Patriotes pour un Congo Libre et Souverain) clashed with the FARDC in Kitchanga and the ensuing fighting destroyed most of the town burning it to the ground

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Volcanoes on the Congo – Rwanda – Uganda border

Nyiragongo looms over Goma puffing away

All too common sight all over Congo

Half way up a Volcano on the Rwandan side

Early Morning Mist, Mweso, North Kivu

Girl and Machete, Mweso, North Kivu

Brother and Sister

All women, even the girls have a baby strapped to their back

Beer depot

Villagers from Kitchanga, North Kivu

The second-hand charity clothes that make it to Congo sometimes seem a little out of place

Overloaded truck bound for Uganda

Performers take a smoke break

Part of a troupe in the village that would perform skits and dances to raise awareness about sexual violence

Bring an umbrella, it rains a lot in North Kivu

Kitchanga kids

Displaced kids in Mungote camp

Cool Congolese youth from Goma

Displaced kids jump rope in Goma

Nyiragongo lava lake glowing over Goma

Sunset in Kalemie

Kitchanga

Tschukadoo, wooden transport bicycle

Kitchanga Burns

Residents flee as Kitchanga burns

Residents inspect the damage

The whole of the centre of Kitchanga was burned to the ground, including half of my house. the only structures left standing were those build to concrete, and many of them were shot up or blown up

Displaced kids in their straw camp, Katanga

Displaced women prepare ‘Manioc’, Katanga

Displaced child in Katanga