Photos: Western DR Congo

Kid in Mbanza Ngungu, Western DRC

Kid in Mbanza Ngungu, Western DRC

An agricultural officer at a pest and disease training

An agricultural officer at a pest and disease training

A young woman observing our activities in the field

A young woman observing our activities in the field

Photo: Aru village in DRC at dusk

I was in Aru, a small yet buzzing village in Province Orientale in Democratic Republic of Congo near the Sudan border, in order to train agronomists in giving better plant health advice to farmers in the surrounding areas. The people are adorable and made me feel very welcome and safe. The outskirts are always lively in the evening, particularly after the rains and during Easter Sunday. Here I was just ambling along the main road near my hotel, and the colours and vibes were very relaxing. I later in the evening watched, filmed and eventually participated in a Michael Jackson tribute dance to Smooth Criminal...!

Aru, in Province Orientale in Democratic Republic of Congo near the Sudan border, is a small but buzzing town. the outskirts are always lively in the evening, particularly after the rains. Here is was just ambling along the main road near my hotel, and the colours and vibes were very relaxing. Hope you enjoy the picture!

Photo: a really cool grasshopper on cassava in DR Congo

grasshopper; insect; cassava pests; Congo; Africa

While I was out doing an agronomist training course in DRC, I came across this amazing grasshopper sitting on a cassava leaf. They are considered a pest on cassava and can destroy a whole crop if they are left alone. As bad as they are to the farmers, these insects are pretty spectacular to look at!

Photo: my host family in Province Orientale, Northern DRC

My adoptive family in Northern DRC during a training

When I went to Province Orientale in Northern DRC, near the Sudanese border, I stayed in a very remote village that took about 12 hours to get to on a small motorbike. I was a bit apprehensive because I was not sure what I was going to find there once we arrived. My hut was clean and well looked after, and one of the families in the village looked after me. They gave me food and washed my clothes. There were adorable and I hope this picture does them justice. I think about them every now and again, and hope they are doing well. Hopefully I will see them soon! That area of DRC has a lot of problems with Cassava Mosaic virus and Banana bacterial wilt. however they have an amazing quantity of food due to the tropical conditions in the region. It rains 10 months of the year and avocado the size of watermelons grow everywhere, they feed peanuts (usually a cash crop) to the pigs and the chickens are very tasty (which I find unusual in East Africa)

Photo: A South Sudanese woman in a market in Northern DR Congo

South Sudanese woman in Northern Congo market

This woman, whose name I unfortunately cannot remember, lived in what is now South Sudan and left during the recent troubles in Juba. She crossed into DRC and now lives in Aru, near the Ugandan border. She is growing cassava and banana to sell at the moment and is an expert seamstress. She owns her own sowing machine and gets good income from it. She was very happy to talk to me about the problems in the area. The North East Congo-Uganda-South Sudan region used to be a lawless area where many bad things happened. It is however easier now, and she is looking forward to returning to her native Juba soon. For her and her family, I really hope this happens! good luck!