Tag Archives: Beni

Creatures of the Congo

The Democratic Republic of Congo is full of interesting critters, and I saw a few of them during the five months I spent in different parts of the country. Now that I’ve left DRC, here’s a snapshot of some of the bugs and beasts I encountered:

Caterpillars in Kindu:

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Caterpillars eventually turn into butterflies and moths, like these ones in Lubutu and Kindu:

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Tadpoles near Lubutu:

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Praying mantises in Kindu:

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And more praying mantises near Lubutu:

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Dragonflies near Lubutu:

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Strange but not unfamiliar creepy crawly in my Kisangani hotel room:

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Strange and unfamiliar bug near Lubutu:

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Huge beetle in Lubutu:

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Cricket in Kindu:

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Grasshopper with a face like a cartoon skull in Kisangani:

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And of course some predators… ants attacking something bigger than them in Kindu:

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Ants attacking a larger flying red ant in Kindu:

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Spider gobbling up an unidentified critter in my Kindu bathroom:

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A baby gecko, great hunters of mosquitoes and other insects, in Kindu:

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A skink in Kindu:

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An agama lizard in Beni:

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Another agama lizard, caught and killed by a creature higher up in the food chain in Beni:

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Three crocodiles relaxing together in Beni:

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Two turtles in the same pond as the crocodiles, also stacked up, in Beni:

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Annoyingly loud pied crows in Beni:

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Polite and silent kid goat near Obokote:

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Relatively obedient cow between Lubutu and Kisangani:

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And a large and not-at-all shy fruit bat in Beni:

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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.