Day 1~ April 1st~ Congo

a smile where you least expect it

At  times when I hear myself grumble about my coffee not being the right taste or temperature, my mind goes back to this smiling girl and to her story…

After months of living in terror, running from prosecution by militias, escaping bullets, rape, sickness and capture, this Rwandan child arrived in a UNICEF supported medical clinic in Goma(Democratic Republic of Congo) on the Rwanda border. She receives milk in this orange cup and still has energy to flash me a heartfelt smile from her beautiful face and eyes heavy with exhaustion. 

For the month of April I will share stories and images from a live changing journey into war-torn Congo. 

All photos were taken in October of 2009.

39 thoughts on “Day 1~ April 1st~ Congo

  1. Beautiful photography.
    And it just goes to show that hearts are strong and smiles the same everywhere 🙂

    I see a great contrast of focus. The photos of Lebanon I felt you were trying to show the world the picture of Lebanon we never see. The different picture than the war torn country the media bombarded us with for decades. And in this series almost the opposite?

    Perfect love

    1. The war in Lebanon is over (at least for now). Congo is another story, it needs so much the world’s attention. It is the war that claimed and still claims till today more lives than any war to date, it enslaves children, it subjects them to rape, to drugs and to premature death. The way I approach Congo is different because very little is said about it in the media, and very little help is given. Thank you so much for your comments.

      1. I agree that media in general is bad at covering things where no oil is found.

        From the post you showed today there is still hope.
        I think people tend to shrug away when they see to much despare. Finding the balance of hope is essential for people to get involved and start contributing to change.

        Please tell us if there is a way to get in contact with any organizations. I would be especially interested in organizations that give possibilities to self help.

        Keep up the good work

      2. Yes, there is always hope and there is so much being done by so many selflessly and inside of NGOs and international organizations to help. I went to Congo for a project that I started with a friend to look for artist children and to see how their love of art can change them and change their lives. We were assisted with all logistics by the UN which was the only way to travel to Congo and move around as well as meet the children. A lot resulted from the trip that inspired children helping children in the US, and donations of art supplies and gifts sent to the children via UNICEF. Despite all efforts I saw being made there, I know from family members who work in the United Nations and work with refugees that it is never enough and they spend their lives raising funds to help in places like Congo and recently Somalia. It is just the world we live in…

  2. what an amazing series you are putting together here Mimo – I just worked my way backwards through all of them to date, and every single one is a terrific image with a powerful story.

  3. Beautiful picture. what I like most about your pictures (that I’ve seen so far) is the way you’ve represented the children. They are so often reduced to ‘victim’ many of them look strong in your shots, survivors. Great Work

  4. Looking forward eagerly to your Congo photos Mimo..though I suspect some may be sad indeed? kept meaning to ask how come you have been in so many countries??

  5. First, the colors threw me off, and then I see an amazing smile, and then I read an amazing story about an amazing smile. It’s a wonderful photograph and amazing smile. All I can say is take me, because I am ready for your new journey. 🙂

  6. What a beautiful portrait. I look forward to reading and following this journey. This story is powerful and it has left a mark on my heart.

  7. What a striking face! I have come to the realisation that it is the downtrodden that smile the most! And the coddled who grumble about the littlest things!

  8. Wonderful capture, Mimo. It breaks my heart that any child (any person, but especially a child!) should have to experience those things.

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