Sunday, January 26, 2014

Congo: Violence, Heartbreak, Beauty & Possibility

Time keeps on passing by, but sadly there is not much to report on our adoption. There was a rumor floating around the adoption community that the exit permit suspension would end in February. We let ourselves get a little hopeful over this for a couple weeks, because really, what else are we going to do. If somebody dangles a piece of hopeful information in front of us, we are going to jump on it. Unfortunately, the embassy met with DGM (the issuer of exit permits) and found out this rumor is false and the suspension continues as usual (which is to say until September, or whenever else they feel like issuing them again).

As we keep going through the daily motions, life in Congo continues as usual also. A few weeks ago a rebel group (made up of "youths") launched an attack on several places in Kinshasa, including the airport we will be flying into. The attack was shut down pretty quickly- 46 of the child soldiers were killed and another 20 were arrested. This event is unsettling on so many levels. It is scary that the rebel violence made an appearance in Kinshasa, the largest city in DRC and located in the usually calmer western part of the country. It is also very sad that the children rebels were killed. I understand the attack needed to be stopped, but these children probably never had any opportunity to do anything different with their lives. If given a real choice, I doubt many of those young people would have chosen to join up with a violent rebel group and go on a useless suicide mission in Kinshasa. It is just such a waste of life.

A couple of days ago there was a lightening strike in the city that our son Roland was born. The lightening struck a munitions building on a military barracks, which created an explosion. More than 20 people died and around 50 people were injured. Exploding shells hit homes as far as 4 miles away. Considering the DRC receives the highest frequency of lightening strikes in the world, they seemed oddly unprepared for the occurrence. It is sad that one bolt of lightening created so much havoc on Roland's city of birth.

While Congo is full of violence and sad stories, it is also a land of unappreciated beauty. Apparently it is even possible to ski in Congo. You just have to take a risky in- country flight, go on a motorcycle ride, drive down a cow path and take an arduous mountain climb first. I really wish that when we travel we could see more than just the congested streets of Kinshasa. I would love to experience the beautiful landscapes and diversity of life that my son's birth country offers. If only it was a little bit safer and more accessible, it would make a great eco- adventure travel destination. For now I will have to be satisfied by the short videos made by some adventuresome travelers. Watch and you will be pleasantly surprised that a video about Congo can focus on more than just poverty and violence.

Click on the link above for a 15 minute video on the "Congo Ski Club".