Another month of blogging comes to a close, the journey back to Congo, the beautiful children, the fantastic sense of hope and resilience, the bright faces, the humanity that I experienced in that war ridden part of Africa is over with this post. But it goes on in me, it never stops and it pulls be back always to revisit it, to never ever forget.
Thanks to all who followed, commented, encouraged, shared, critiqued and thought about Congo this past month. I hope that by more good people thinking and being aware of what goes on in that part of the world, more can somehow be done to change it. As they say, the first step in helping something is being aware of it.
Tomorrow I start a new month of a totally different nature. Stay tuned!
When we grumble about the extra pound we had to lift in our air conditioned gym, the heavy bag of groceries we had to move from the supermarket cart to the trunk of our car, or when we have to work an extra hour in the office, it is good to remember how some other people live around the world.
It is good to remember that wealth is not distributed fairly on this planet and that the balances are off and have been for a long while. Do we just say ‘this is life’ or do we work on having a better life? Many do, and as I come closer to the close of this month’s project on Congo, I send thanks to them. I am grateful to the humanitarians of the world, to those who give without counting the cost, and who push so hard to try and even out a crooked world.
I have seen again and again that despite war circumstances, no matter how tough it gets, people try to retain a sense of normalcy in their day to day life. In Congo, everyone’s hair seems to be carefully colored, styled, braided and impressive looking. I loved seeing all the different hair dressers salons around town in Goma painted with colorful murals and boasting their professional services in every neighborhood. It is a sight I keep going back to when my mind wanders back to Congo.
May all the children of the world run with joy and never from fear…
He followed our unicef SUV for more than 15 minutes in Goma’s streets giggling joyfully and I got to capture his beautiful smile 🙂
I like to think that there are special angels assigned for each child that is born to this planet, to guide them, watch over them and shower them with buckets full of joy when life get rough…
Glowing smiles, shiny eyes, boundless energy, these things are not what I expected to see in the children of a war ravaged country like Congo. But children are just incredible, aren’t they? They seem to be plugged into an entirely different power source to to the one we are connected to as adults. They never seem to tire, they can run for hours, the can laugh madly about the silliest things, they can jump, sing and react with no inhibition in a safe circumstance and yes, they are like that even in Congo.
If I were to put one common word when describing children from any country, I would say ‘resilience’…
Children are developing beings, changing at a rapid speed, growing, absorbing, evolving and filled with energy that drives them through their process of becoming young adults. What I saw in a lot of the children in Congo was hope, strength, power, joy and possibility despite of and against all odds.
At the beginning of their life journey, their future is unpredictable, unknown and allowing for just anything to happen. It makes me wonder what will become of the these young bright faces that I met, where they are now and where they would be years from now.
photo taken: during a french lesson at the Cajed center for the care of ‘les enfants de la rue’ (the street children) in Kinshasa.
For ‘les enfants de la rue’, the children of the street in Kinshasa, a bit of ground in an enclosed secure place can make a world of difference where their safety is concerned. These children roam the streets by night in search of food, opportunity and means and ways. During the day, a center like this one (Cajed), is a place for them to be with people who care for a few hours. The can, eat, have lessons, play and most importantly rest. These 2 children were fast asleep during the whole of my visit and despite other children playing and running and jumping all around them.
I am quite behind in these Congo posts for April, because it gets more and more difficult each day to go relive this experience through the thousands of photos captured there. Each photograph forces me to relive the moments with all the emotions that accompanied it.
One of the most precious gifts we humans receive upon our birth is the gift of choice and free will…
We have the faculties that allow us to think, evaluate, compare, investigate, evaluate and then based upon our findings make an informed decision. It is a the first and most important principle for our freedom.
But when this gift is stolen, taken away, then we are forced to live in oppression and to become the involuntary players in the games of others.
This boy was destined to become a player in a game of war, not by choice, he is far too young and far too vulnerable to make his way towards his freedom. He is a prisoner in one ugly scheme and it has drawn the old man out of the little boy.
And the game is till being played…
“May the odds be in his favor”… the quote that still haunts me from the recent movie “the hunger games”
Being born into conflict, struggling to survive, finding themselves short of even the most basic of life’s necessities; what kind of future are these children looking forward to having?
If children are the hope for our future, if they will be the beacon for much needed change to come, then don’t they deserve much more than the world is giving them? It is so much easier to close one eye and just look at Africa as a lost cause that only rarely makes it to the front pages of our newspapers, but these issues are real, the children exist, their futures are hanging by a very thin thread.
Isn’t humanity dependent on humans feeling the need of other humans and doing something about it? Is enough being done?
These are some of the questions that haunt me as I go through this photo archive and as the memories these children begin to illuminate themselves in my mind again…