Sunday, January 31, 2010

DR Congo or my long lost love

I recently had the opportunity to go to DR Congo with Samaritan’s Purse. The first few days we spent in Bunia, meeting with WFP (World Food Programme) about potentially starting distributions in NE Congo. From there we went to a village called Nyankunde where SP is helping to rebuild a hospital destroyed by the Ituri conflict sometime around 2002.

Here are some things I learned:

- 1. Congo is gold plated.

- 2. Taxing is a national sport –I was taxed for One Pass (a tax to improve the airport), Health ( a tax on your health ?!?) and road tax (enforced by local guys who take their own initiative to improve the roads)

- 3. The roads in Karamoja are good - After one week on Congolese roads, I will never again complain about the roads in Karamoja. The roads were terrible and I cannot imagine how it would be during the rainy season.

Below are some pictures from the trip. Most were taken at small river where men were panning for gold.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

OVERDUE: Christmas

It has been quite a while since I last posted and I have a back log of pictures…so here goes. I surprised my family in Germany with a Christmas visit…they had no idea I was coming. Europe greeted me with a frosty snow glaze and freezing temperatures…. A dramatic change from the dusty dry savanna plains of Karamoja. It was great time; relaxing and over-eating (I gained 10lbs in the 2 weeks I was back). Most afternoons, I would take a stroll with the fam through the farm fields until the sun set lazily behind the black forest. I think it was the first time in the last year that I did not think about work. Before coming to Germany, I did not realize the conscious and unconscious weight of work on my mind. Although Christmas was great, Kristi was unfortunately not with me as she had gone the US. I missed her terribly and coming back to Karamoja, I’ve really appreciated the fact that we work together and get to spend so much time together.