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Sunday, April 13, 2008

How's The View Up There?

I'm leaving for Africa again next Sunday, to the increasingly Democratic Republic of Congo. So let's have some more photos of my last trip...

Kids waiting in the hospital of Mushenge  

Woman in hospital with young boy with banana  

Mobile phone pylon in construction  

Landlines are few and far between, and generally useless. But with the advent of mobile phones, things are improving fast. Here you see how those pylons are built: completely by hand and without any gimmicks such as tower cranes or trucks. A team of labourers (the guys in front) hoist the individual pieces up with those cables you see hanging down.

Congolese labourers building a mobile phone mast  

Another team builds the pylon. Note that they are not secured or anything. If they fall they're dead. Should they somehow survive their fall, they have to be carried on a bike to the nearest hospital. But with lack of just about anything, from medicines to anaestetics or even skilled staff, their chances are very slim at best.

Mother with children in medical centre in Congo  

Woman with twin baby girls in Congo  

Newborn baby twin girls, who clearly know how to keep their mother busy. Look how pooped she is!

Production of maniok seedlings in Congo  

Apart from medical institutions, we also visited an agricultural project. This is a field in the middle of the rain forest, where maniok seedlings are produced. Maniok is a staple food here. I tasted it on several occasions, but I can't say I like it. Generally, you get these bowls of maniok paste, or 'foufou' with your fish or chicken (if you're rich enough to pay for meat of fish). You can also eat the leaves, they taste much like spinach.

Cultivating here is no easy feat: it's an endless battle against the rain forest, that sends legions of ferns that have to be removed by hand. The man clear the forest away, the women are then responsible for the fields. It's back-breaking work, and it doesn't pay well.

Old congolese man near Mweka - Eastern Kasa├» province  

Once the forest is cleared, the men mainly 'supervise'.

Posted by Bart at 8:15 PM
Edited on: Sunday, April 13, 2008 8:16 PM
Categories: Framed, The intrepid explorer

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