Two Weeks in Beni, North Kivu, DRC

Toward the end of July, not long after arriving back in Kindu, I got a call asking me to fly to Beni in North Kivu. I spent nearly two weeks there, helping set up an emergency response after many thousands of people were displaced by fighting nearby. I didn’t take many photos of my work, so here are some photos of random things I encountered during my Beni experience:

Flying from Goma to Beni, there are endless mountains, which remind some foreigners of Switzerland apparently.

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I flew to and from Beni in a Twin Otter DHC-6, which is a very popular Canadian plane built by de Havilland:

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In Beni, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has a team with Toyota LandCruisers (pictured on Beni’s main drag) and a number of Renault trucks.

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One of my tasks while in Beni was to help choose a place to rent as a combined office and home. One of the places we visited was really creepy. This is what the ceiling in one room was like:

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They’re not great photos, but there were some nice flowers in Beni. These first ones were in the yard of the Solidarités home:

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Flowers in the new Medical Emergency Relief International (Merlin) base:

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One night a couple of us were trying to explain some night photography concepts as the moon rose into the sky, so I set my camera on a table in timer mode, pulled out a flashlight, and took this 30 second shot in the compound:

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I usually wake up when my alarm clock starts going off, but in Beni I didn’t even need it. Almost every single morning, two pied crows would show up at one of the very reflective windows of the house and start attacking their mirror images. This was very loud.

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There were a number of written things I found amusing in Beni. One of these was the “permitted flavours” aspect of this passionfruit juice:

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Another was this “Tourist Camping” site in an area in which even the locals often feel insecure:

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This one was really amazing – “Restaurant What Is Your Problem”

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And my favourite, “Joseph Kabila: Youth in power for the rebuilding of the country”

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My stay in Beni got cut short when I was asked to fly to Goma to help with our medical supply chain and other logistical issues. I flew from Beni to Goma on August 6th. There were lots of interesting things for me to watch passing by down on the ground, including this UN base:

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In Goma, I spent 3 weeks moving as many drugs and medical supplies in and out of our depot as I could, which was difficult both mentally and physically (I always helped lifting the hundreds of heavy boxes of supplies we would receive or dispatch each time the truck pulled up), but also very interesting. During this time, I had an interview for a position as Capital Logistician for the same organisation (Medical Emergency Relief International, aka Merlin), in Juba, South Sudan. I got the job, and today I’m leaving DRC. I’ll fly to Nairobi first, where I’ll spend 2 nights, then off to Juba for a 3 month contract.

2 Comments

  1. Maxwell Anderson August 29, 2010 at 16:24 #

    Terrific photos. It always seemed surreal flying on a plane older than myself but the Otters are reliable.

  2. Jackie August 30, 2010 at 19:10 #

    Chris, these are amazing photos. Thanks for sharing them.

    Good luck Nomad.

    Bisous… xx

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  1. […] pretty cool, especially as we got closer to Bunia, flying over mountains that reminded me of the flights I took between Goma and Beni in […]

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