Archive for the ‘Okapi’ Category

Kisangani, August 24, 2003

December 20, 2007

 me-and-sumi.jpgThe blast in Baghdad shakes the MONUC; a petrol station opens and the cars come out of hiding; the “men in uniform” still fill their pockets but not the RCD tax collectors; 40 kidnapped women are not worth a headline. (more…)


Kisangani, August 10, 2003

December 20, 2007

kikwit-2.jpg   The barges rolled into town, we gave the RCD-G authorities a hard time and they backed down but not much has changed. (more…)

Mbandaka, July 20, 2003

December 20, 2007

 congo-river-from-heli1.jpgThis week: there is always some place worse; Uruguayan soldiers teach local kids bad English; and Eugene Yololo is a one-man press agency who makes sure Makanza knows. (more…)

Mbandaka, July 13, 2003

December 13, 2007

 Despotism is a legitimate mode of government in dealing with barbarians, provided the end be their improvement.”  John Stuart Mill in ‘On Liberty 


Kisangani, July 6, 2003

December 12, 2007

tolekas-3.jpg This week the Boyamais (inhabitants of Kisangani) celebrated the forty-third anniversary of Congo’s independence, the Kisangani Fair boged down in mud and beer and another case of witch-craft led to the premature death of a white rabbit. (more…)

Kisangani, June 29, 2003

December 12, 2007


In which I complain about money-hungry-fishermen, the Congolese complain (again) that  the UN is not fixing their country and I get to visit the city’s prison. (more…)

Kisangani, June 22, 2003

December 12, 2007

leon-and-kids.jpg Leon and the kids at the school he ran

This week Malaria kept me in the hospital (see Malaria, June 17) so I was unable to observe very much but I do have a couple of good stories to tell you: UNICEF finds a way to help the warring parties improve forced conscription, young Rappers lash out at the war-lords and Kisangani gets the cell phone before the stage-coach. (more…)

Kisangani, June 8, 2003

November 15, 2007

 rifle-barrel.jpgI left Gbadolite with the journalists happy to finally be doing a local news program, the Monuc finally happy with the work of the reporters, me happy to finally be invited to the journalists’ homes for wonderful Congolese meals, the electricity failing and MLC rebel leader Jean-Pierre Bemba desperately trying to keep a hold on his power.  (more…)

Gbodolité, May 11, 2003

November 13, 2007

cemetery.jpgThe cemetery of Belgian missionaires 

“Lets get out of here!”  The most used phrase in Hollywood films.  

I am told the runway at the airport here is the longest in Africa, although I am sure the officer with the local rebel army was exaggerating when he said: “it is seven kilometers long”.  When Mobutu was in power, many Western presidents flew in here and even the Concorde landed a few times.  The runway is still in great condition but, except for the heavy machineguns on the roves of the terminals, nothing else is in operating condition.  The windows are gone, even up top of the control tower, and everything, including what was nailed down, was looted in one of the two soldiers’ rampages: the first, the minute Mobutu fled his palace in 1997 and the second, when Laurent Desire Kabila and his Chadian backers were defeated in 1998. (more…)

Kinshasa, May 4, 2003

November 13, 2007

Hear no evil. Speak no evil. See no evil. kin-sunset.jpg

Well, this week I really got a lesson in what NGOs are all about.  I was given an amendment to my contract, a sort of in-house rules in which I am banned from talking or writing about what I see or do.  Basically, anything I think, write or photograph during my tenure with the Foundation, as well as after my contract is terminated, is their property.  I am told this is fairly standard in NGO contracts.  (more…)