Zimbabwe: Back From the Brink?

I spent three weeks in Zimbabwe in December 2009; it was my first return to that country in a little over two years. The last time I was there, in late 2007, inflation was heading into outer space, with more OOOOs on the banknotes than a Venetian orgasm; Comrade Bob was digging his heels in…

Ripping off locals: a handy guide

You’ve all done it before, been there done that, gotten bored, got the “mzungu” t-shirt and picked a few tourist pockets yourself while hanging out in the African market. Hey, things do go both ways in these places, damned straight, and it’s worth your while to understand that the local yokels can be hosed out of their money just as effectively to them as they do it to you. My good old friend George W. Bush used to call this a “pre-emptive strike” or something to that effect, but I just call it by that good old fashioned British English word, pragmatism.

Goodbyes are never easy!

I’m now in Kigali, capital of Rwanda, waiting to take my flight back to London…and strangely missing my bucket baths back in DR Congo. The place I’m staying at here in Kigali has a shower to rival the strength of Victoria falls! Since I’ve last posted I’ve continued to assist at the malnourishment centre at…

It’s been a while…

since I’ve posted on here, sorry for that! Since being back in Bukavu after my adventurous couple of days in Goma I’ve been a bit occupied and internet here in Bukavu isn’t so easy to come by as it was in Goma (the people I stayed with in Goma had wireless in their house! 24/7…

Angola: Cabinda Calling

Luanda’s domestic terminal is a crowded, dim, smoky place that definitely has not been affected by the obsession with banning cigarettes that has swept across the globe. Amongst local Angolans hauling piles of luggage were crowds of men from the Philippines and China, packed closely together, dutifully handing their passports over to their handlers when…

In search of gorilla

Early Saturday morning (18th July) we set off in search of gorillas in the Mikeno Forests in Virunga Park, North Kivu, DRC. We were one of few tourists visiting Bukima (one of the park patrol posts) since rebels attacked the Gorilla Sector in September 2007. Even now Virunga Park is still occupied by militia (believed…

Back in Goma…and into Virunga

My 1st week at the General Hospital of Bukavu flew past and at the end of the week I’d seen some really really severe cases of malnourishment but also some children making a great improvement! On Thursday evening I met up with my friend Brandy Walker who works at Panzi hospital. The idea was to…

General Hospital of Bukavu

Monday morning I met Sœur (sister) Helena Albarracin, a Catholic sister, at the Congregation Dorotee di Cemmo in Bukavu where she lives with other sisters who all work at various clinics, schools and prisons in and around Bukavu. From there we left for the General Hospital of Bukavu, where Sœur Helena assists in the running…

Karibu!

Meaning welcome in Swahili I’m finally here, in Bukavu! Arrived yesterday (Saturday 4th) with the speed boat and was met at the port by Sœur Helena (with whom I will be working at the General Hospital in Bukavu) and Franck, with whom I’ll be staying for my time in Bukavu. Some sort of VIP must…