Friday, March 11, 2011

Where I Live

This is the view from our office/my front door. The highest ridge in the picture marks the start of the "haut plateau," which stretches a ways west towards the interior of DRC. As much I would like to scramble up there during my free time, I can't. A lot of militias enjoy free reign up there in those ungoverned parts. As a consequence, many former highlanders have relocated to the lakeshore, which is relatively secure. This movement of the population has put increasing pressure on the natural resources here, most notably arable land and soil. (Note the patchworked fields covering the hills.)

With a banana wilt committee, measuring their local "multiplication field." The healthy banana seedlings that are produced in the nurseries our project established eventually get planted in fields, where they grow to maturity and produce lots and lots of clones. These clones can be harvested and distributed to other villagers; this is how the impact of our project is magnified.

At the moment a lot of our multiplication fields aren't ready, and so we're taking stock of what resources are available vs. what we actually need to get all of those healthy shoots into the right growing environment. Hence the measuring tape.

This is one of our base guards, Didier, showing me the garden behind his house, in a hilltop village about 4 miles from Minova. He grows cabbages, mangoes, tomatoes, guavas, sugarcane, eucalyptus seedlings--just your average Congolese agricultural tinkerer.

Our local beach, seen from a hilltop in Didier's village. I swam there once, before learning that the lake's poisonous gases can swallow you alive. It was nice at the time. Now I just admire its apparent serenity from far-off hilltops.

For more photos from the past three weeks, click here.


  1. What a beautiful place - it looks so serene, too (which I know is not altogether accurate). Thanks for sending out these pictures - it's very good you have a working camera again. It must be hard having those mountains so temptingly close, but I'm heartily relieved you're leaving them to the militias. Do you know what the man is transporting in his boat?

  2. He is transporting bananas, of course. One "regime," or bunch, of bananas, sells for around $3.00 or $3.50 in the local marketplace. Apparently before the banana wilt struck, the price was more like $1.25 or $1.50, since there were so many more bananas to be found.

  3. Emily I love what your doing!immah


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