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
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
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
Tschukadoo, wooden transport bicycle
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
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