Travels

DR Congo, a country of darkness

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Democratic Republic of Congo It is one of the richest countries in the world. It has between 60-80% of Coltan's reserves, the world's black gold, but it also has gold, uranium, oil, diamonds and all kinds of precious stones. Something that should be good contrasts with the news that comes from there, child exploitation, wars, the country with the most violations in the world and a history of genocides. Today we leave here, perhaps never to return ...

We haven't slept much in our little makeshift cabin. We have made a "bobbin lace" to maintain body heat. The night began with the cold air entering through any slit (And that seems to be that there are nights that the volcano gives off so much heat that you can't even be in the huts), to get to hear distant storm that has not just arrived ... but the most mysterious were a kind of "bombs" that They did not come from the volcano. We almost preferred not to know.

It's 5:30 in the morning when Enmanuel knocks on the door. It is about to dawn and our cook has prepared a hot breakfast for us. It is time to say goodbye to one of the most active volcanoes in the world, and one of the only 5 with lava lake that exists (next to Erta Ale in Ethiopia, Kilauea in Hawaii, Erebus in Antarctica and Villarrica in Chile). At this time, the day has dawned, he has already lost the intense red of the night ... !! Until forever Nyiragongo !!


We begin the hard descent at 6.48. At this time we could not even imagine how hard the sequels were going to be in the following days. As we glide (at times) along the Nyiragongo hillside, after the very first stretch in which Isaac takes a "good memory", we enter again between a beautiful green landscape. We think for us that we are not aware even for a moment in which country we are and what can deceive embarked on this adventure. His story is already marked by the blood, crimes and injustices of the white man, when there by 1890, in full Belgian colonization, was committed one of the most brutal and least recognized genocides that has existed in the world in charge of Leopold II of Belgium.

It was not the coltan, but the rubber, wood, coffee and ivory, the mobiles of such monstrosities although hypocrisy reached unprecedented limits, defending free trade in Europe and the fight against the eagle trade. The scandal would still take 10 years to arrive, despite the warnings long before several explorers who reported the ejaculation, submission and true atrocities that resulted in massacres (the photos of Google Images)



Today we barely stop halfway. The descent requires less effort of heart but we carry the twins, the knees, the biceps and the previous ones very loaded. At times it becomes dangerous. We look back and we don't believe them. In the distance we leave the top where we hardly distinguish the cabins where we have protected ourselves from freezing at night. We would be unable to go back just by remembering the hard ascension of yesterday.


It's exactly 10.35 (about 3 hours and 47 minutes down after) when we surpass the poster that yesterday indicated the beginning of the adventure. There are already some Italians waiting to start their experience, and as it is inevitable, they ask us ... !! ABRIGOOOO CLOTHING !! Also the porters waiting for their tip (15 USD, well deserved) and Mukanirwa waiting for us to take us to Goma and then to the border.

The 19 km from Goma separate us, after our passage through the fearsome Nyiragongo, to open our eyes to the place where we are.


Times have not changed much since the colonial times of Leopold II. Those who believe in justice in the world (which we do not believe are many) live with their eyes closed. What used to be rubber, ivory, diamonds or gold, is now called coltan, and it is the new black gold (used by mobile phones, computers, ... Google Images photo).


The struggle for this material leads to child exploitation in mines under absolute absence of security conditions, under uncontrolled military command, ... Even the rebel leader who is generating a true civil war In this area of ​​Kivu, Lauren Nkuda, it is said that Western companies have armed it to control these mines under the permissiveness of the United Nations (as I already did with the 1994 Rwandan genonicide that we would see THE OTHER DAY and we will see in depth tomorrow in Kigali ) and has already caused more than 200,000 refugees.

What is known for sure is that the Rwandan army, under the pretext of protecting the Tutsi population of the RDCongo, invaded the country in 1998 by dividing the area into two domains, the one linked to the government of Kinshasha (capital of the RDCongo) and the one linked to the Rwandan government. A) Yes, Belgian companies take the ore and return weapons. !! Shameful !! (photos Google Images)



We approached the same toll that yesterday gave us "little problems" and today it was not going to be less. Mukanirwa gets serious. The "customs officer" looks up and down the car and has a few words with him. He tells him he has to pay. Mukanirwa knows that he doesn't have to do it but the "customs officer" tells him that he is carrying a foreign car and has to pay. Now look inside and at us. After 6 or 7 tense minutes, Mukanirwa's firmness seems to have served and they open the barrier. Is a tense and challenging situation that we preferred to have avoided.



And if this were not enough, the Democratic Republic of the Congo has the "honor" of being the country with highest number of violations per year with 400,000 women, 1 every 48 hours. It is, without a doubt, the worst place on earth to be born a woman. The news usually arrives blurred to our environment, but from time to time we have knowledge of it (La Vanguardia News)


We are talking about the fact that a woman in the DRCongo has 58 more possibilities of rape than in any western country and this is also hidden from us or given to us as a statistic.



The second photo is taken from Google Images, the first is ours. The anecdote of that photo is that when we went to make it the girl heard the "click" of the camera, looked for us and ran away terrified. It's as if I thought it was a weapon. We were frozen. How can you live with that tension every day?

RDCongo is a country full of stories of genocides, struggles for minerals, child exploitation, wars, rapes.… Currently we are facing a true country of darkness in the heart of Africa that many ignore or ignore for even widespread misinformation. The first powers that speak of democracies and human rights do not intervene directly and even profit from Uganda and Rwanda smuggling and providing the main companies at affordable prices so that we all have mobiles, computers or consoles in our homes. Maybe writing this story and giving a little more echo is useful for something ...

Numerous signs near the main road alert to the activity of the volcano. Today, like yesterday, the flag is yellow, which means alert 2 (active but not dangerous). Again the image of the cemetery of planes of what was an international airport razed by lava reminds us that this is not a game.



As we saw yesterday, We are surprised to see the United Nations in a multitude of positions around the Airport and other points of Goma. Investigating seems to be something that should not surprise us so much, since first the multitude of refugees that mobilized the Rwandan Genocide (more than 2,000,000 people), then the recent Battle of Goma in 2008 between the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (supported by former Hutus) and the RDCongo Armed Forces (supported by the United Nations and tsusi guerrillas commanded by Nkunda) would displace another 250,000.



He Goma center, a city of 160,000 inhabitants, scares. Paula and Ruth want to go to the border as soon as possible. There is a feeling of constant tension, possibly more within us for the knowledge of all these conflicts than of the really lived insecurity. Remains of solidified lava and volcanic stones, intermingle with pauperrimas hygiene conditions, motorcycles and more motorcycles, attempts to rebuild the city between roads without fixing and the attempt of people to carry out their small businesses.


We read that RDCongo is heading for the 7th or 8th generation lost after colonization, with a non-existent health system that with this partial vision of the country we get an idea, more than the half of children without schooling, more than 30% of Children under 5 years with malnutrition and with a mortality of children under 1 year of one every twelve. And the numbers get worse every year.



We are especially curious to note that even here the telephone companies do not lose their opportunity. If in Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda there was a tough competition, even in a place like this you find sales "offices" every few meters, despite the dark panorama.


And does Goma have any point of interest? In theory there was. Today it comes down to the remains of the old Catholic cathedral, the icon of Nyiragongo volcano in conservation and the figure of a "chukuku" (or how to write that original bicycle that they use for everything)




The luxury area of ​​the city is now beginning to lift its large mansions, contrasting with the unpaved roads full of potholes, garbage around and small shacks where they live in miserable conditions.



We see a small craft market and stop. We find the same figures as in Kenya, Uganda or Rwanda, but they ask us 10 times more. They stay there. Half "hidden" also try to sell a cheetah skin for $ 250 USD. Namely where it came from. We leave them there.

We enter a kind of private restaurant where we feel safe and take the opportunity to eat something (5 USD drinks every two). We are not hungry, but we still have a way to Kigali. Mukanirwa takes the opportunity to tell us more about the volcano. It seems that there are excursions from Rwanda that by !! $ 7,000 USD !! They take up to 4 people to fly over the top of it…

... we also finally achieved the answer that Ruth was looking for so much (and that the videos will be better understood), "How the hell ... did that" chicken "go down there?" MAKING RAPPEL !! BY FINNNNNNNNNN (You have to be jamao)

Mukanirwa brings us closer to the border and helps us with the departure procedures (Although Paula is a good scare when they do not put the exit stamp and do not let him enter Rwanda. Turn back, haha). He formalism, professionalism and seriousness of him and his father, it is well worth recommending it for future travelers. His small agency is formed by both, with an office in Goma although they also make routes through Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania, and his name is MAPENDANO VOYAGES. !! Thank you very much friends!


Ali and Norman await us. We return to process the entry visa (whose online management we bring from Spain and whose price is USD 30 per person and not USD 60 as it puts on all sides). Behind we leave Rubber. We leave chaos behind. It is possible that our partial vision of this country has led us to one of the cities that has suffered the most in the history of the world with decades of misery caused by volcanic eruptions, hunger and cholera caused by mass exodus, clashes of militias, guerrillas and army, child exploitation, rapes, ...

It's time to value more than ever those people who integrate NGOs fight because someday places like this feel the human warmth of other places (which we know there is in this immense country), that people decorate their skins with colored fabrics and smile with the desire to live, without fear.

He journey from the border to Kigali takes us about 3 hours. We are sooo so tired. The experience of the volcano has left us exhausted, using those last energies that we kept, and we fell asleep. Almost without realizing we are entering "another world", the world that we had already intuited in Ruhengeri or on Lake Kivu, but that in the capital confirms that Rwanda is the most modernized country of the entire trip. And all this they have achieved in just 15 years.

Kigali is a beautiful city tucked into a thousand hills. Tomorrow we will know it in depth.



The day does not give much more than a farewell dinner with our travel companions (RWF 31,350 per couple), a hot shower and a comfortable bed at the Hotel Des Milles Collines (has anyone not seen Hotel Rwanda?). But we leave that story for tomorrow.


Juve, Paula, Isaac and Ruth (and cia), from Kigali (Rwanda)

EXPENSES OF THE DAY: 80 USD (approx 57.14 EUR) and 31.350 RWF (approx 28.70 EUR)

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