Matthew De Galan’s stories
Today we visit Monigi, another town north of Goma. It's a beautiful, cool morning when we set off, working down one street. I ask Christophe if the street has a name. It does — Kesenyi. In the course of the day, we interview six people. Five of them are widows.
After my encounter with the soldier, I am hungry for tips on security. So at dinner I turn to Mugur, a Romanian who heads our emergency team here and has worked in some of the world's most dangerous places — Chechnya, Liberia, Darfur, Bosnia.
A Soldier's Tale
Yesterday we went up north to Kibumba, a market town in rolling hills, between three volcanoes, two in Congo, one in Rwanda. It's a beautiful place, mysterious, with the volcanoes jutting up into the mist and haze. On the other side of the volcanoes to the east are the famed mountain gorillas.
'A Fact-Finding Mission'
This morning we had a brief security meeting. Laura told us there was more fighting just north last night. Goma is safe, although there have been some political assassinations, including a journalist last month.
Today in the courtyard at the hotel there are a dozen soldiers, Congolese army, what they call FARDC (Forces Armeés de la Republique Democratic du Congo). Fully armed with assault rifles; one guy even has a rocket-propelled grenade launcher. Why so many?
We do focus groups to supplement the survey work. We are looking for richer detail, more context, rather than data that can be entered, tabulated, analyzed. I like both processes. Either way, you get stories.
The Water's Fine!
Today I went swimming in Lake Kivu, the sixth largest lake in Africa. On one side is Rwanda, on the other Congo. The water was a perfect temperature - refreshing but not too cold. And just enough waves to bounce you around a bit.
DR Congo: Questions
Spent today conducting assessment surveys with Fernand, one of our Congolese staff. Basically, this means going door to door and asking people 61 questions ranging from how much money they earn and what they eat each day to where they go for health care.