Tag Archives: Signs

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.

Sign, Sign, Everywhere a Sign

Some of the funniest things a traveller can find in many developing countries are signs. Here are a few of the funny or interesting ones I’ve seen so far:

At the Kindu airport MONUC base:

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Mobutu was deposed by a rebel army in 1997 after nearly 32 years as President of DR Congo. The rebel leader who became President was assassinated in 2001 and his son has been in power ever since, yet one of the main roads in Kindu is called Mobutu Boulevard and one of his sons is Minister of Agriculture.

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Back at the Kindu airport MONUC base:

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Note the swimmer in the pool, defying the rule:

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On a plane in Maniema Province:

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A pharmacy in Kisangani, Tshopo Province:

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The balance is a nearly universal symbol of justice. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, the balance on this decaying building accurately reflects the situation in a country which has been receding instead of developing for the past few decades:

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Stockholm

My buddy Nathan was traveling around Europe for a while, and came up to Sweden for a few days to have a look around, so we took a day trip down to Stockholm to see the city since neither of us had been there.

It was a rainy day, so photo conditions weren’t very good and I took very few pics. We walked all around the city, went into stores, ate cinnamon buns (en kanelbulle = a cinnamon bun) which are apparently a very Swedish thing, and I bought a good pair of gloves.

It was Nobel Prize time, so when we went to the Nobel Museum in the old town (Gamla Stan) of Stockholm, we found news vans parked outside. While we were in the Museum, the Swedish Academy announced the Literature prize winner, although the Museum is not where the prizes are awarded or announced.

Stockholm is a city of islands linked by bridges. Gamla Stan, the old town, is a neat little island with narrow, winding cobblestone roads.

I wonder if this business was reading my blog when they were trying to think up their company name… after all, in Sweden they spell the name Andersson, not Anderson.

Outside the Stadthuset (City Hall) there are some big cement clam shell fountain things. Nate got to relive his younger days as a Little Mermaid fan:

Outside Stockholm’s City Hall it is not permitted for beings from the underwater world to emerge from the water and try to join us real humans:

We made it back to Uppsala by train (40 minute ride) just in time to eat some couscous quickly and dash off to a students party in town, to get a taste of Swedish student culture and meet some locals. It was quite fun, though I don’t have any photos to post here, sorry!

Impersonations

I nearly forgot about this post. I planned to put these photos up a long time ago, but because I was so busy it slipped my mind. I only remembered because I’m working on a policy paper worth 50% of my grade. As such, I am bound by the laws of procrastination to remember absolutely every single thing that needs to be done, other than the task at hand. So, without further ado, I give you Impersonations and Other Poses, starring Ron Boaz in his second feature modelling show, with guest star Holly Brattberg.