Sunday, April 13, 2014

rear-view-mirrors

Not even four months has it been since I returned to my country of origin. Reflections amass, questions arise, some settle, solutions strive to be found. My short experience in the Democratic Republic of Congo was certainly an intense one - on all levels. I am thankful for it, as without it I would not be where I am today. Still this mysterious world, so close, yet so far from what I knew before, has left its marks. 

What Nietsche used to tell himself to overcome back when still holds true for me centuries later: "What does not kill me, makes me stronger".


I can find myself in spirit also with the boys that decided to kayak the rapids of the Congo river:  
CONGO - The Grand Inga Project
Sometimes it is pretty easy to get overwhelmed with were you are. When I come out of those situations I am just overjoyed” 
To watch the whole movie:
The French African Connection
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Debunking myths about Africa – podcast
Unfortunately it is seldomly met. Which brings me to the second moral of my Congo experience. Women Empowerment. It's needed more than ever. To me the two points must meet. The biggest challenge of our time is bringing them together.

This is the obsession: To release yourself by accomplishing the goal or by being stopped by something outside of your control. But once you start this journey, even if you don’t wanna go. You have to.”  



The Congo has tested us all, more then any other experience of our lives, and we are fortunate enough to cherish that, and I am very thankful that we are all alive”  





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Not about the Congo yet equally good, arguably even better, is the three part special series on the involvement of "the French" (government) in many of its former African colonies long beyond independence (DRC was not one of them, but one can see French leaders waving into crowds of Kinshasa, next to their old friend Mobutu) :


And yet another great resources is the guardian's monthly  podcast exploring the the myths surrounding Africa. Panelists like Sylvie Aboda-Bradwell give a distinct, critical views on the state of many African countries, development aid and the persisting stereotypes that ignore facts and histories (as most stereotypes do).The suggestion that aid harms more than it helps resurfaces as well ...


So the journey continues. And for the moment it is accompanied by hot showers and various kinds of chocolate.  ....

.....And on a side note:
My passport was returned to me on the 22ed of December. Without a visa. The German consulate (who called me after my poor mother phoned them in Kinshasa to help her daughter leave the country for X-mas) was unable to take any action, but reassured me that this kind of thing happens all the time, that I most likely would have to pay someone, hope that they don't make me miss my plane, and that I had the option to call them back if I do miss it, until midnight. Thanks guys. 

Turned out that our wonderful chauffeur Feli, knew the guy that usually helped us get through the airport -Dede. They went to primary school together. Dede on the other hand knew the head guy from customs - and came in on his day off to "introduce us"...  so an early arrival on the 23ed, lunch with the two guys, loads of patience and smiles ... and an amount to thank them after we got the stamp in our passports and through the security check three hours later, got me in the plain. The French guy sitting up front with the high rollers. Me sitting in the back. Fitting ending to my Congo adventure... 

The moral of the story: when governments are not doing their job, people do what do they best: Figure S@#$ out themselves. If there is not enough to go around though, or if alternative community organizations have been suppressed, destroyed or unable to flourish, things get a little rougher. 

The need for good leadership is everywhere. Everywhere. 






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