Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)
THE LAND — Congo is situated in the heart of sub-saharan Africa. It’s size is greater than that of Spain, France, Germany, Sweden, and Norway combined. Nine countries share its border as well as the Atlantic Ocean for a 25 mile stretch on Congo’s west coastline.
This vast country straddles the equator. It is has very high precipitation and the highest frequency of thunderstorms in the world. It is made up of plateaus & mountains, volcanoes, lush jungles, rain forrest and has the deepest and the 10th longest river in the world – the Congo River.
LANGUAGE — The DRC is the largest officially francophone country in world, but there are 242 languages spoken in the country; Some more popular languages are Kongo, Tshiluba, Swahili and Lingala (which our daughter speaks.)
RELIGION — Christianity is the major religion in the DRC, followed by about 90% of the population (Catholics 55%, Protestant 35%.) Islam accounts for between 5% and 10% of the population. The remaining follow Traditional beliefs: “Traditional religions embody such concepts as monotheism, animism, vitalism, spirit and ancestor worship, witchcraft, and sorcery and vary widely among ethnic groups. These traditional religions can lead to children being accused of witchcraft…and can lead to physical violence against these children.” (wikipedia.com)
ECONOMY — The Congolese are among the poorest in the world, having the second lowest GDP per capita. Ironically, the DRC is considered to be the richest country in the world with it’s natural resources: untapped deposits of raw minerals including diamonds, copper, zinc and coltan.
WAR — Years of war in the DRC have riddled it’s own with massive suffering. “Few people in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) have been unaffected by the armed conflict…
The Second Congo War, beginning in 1998, devastated the country, involved seven foreign armies and is sometimes referred to as the “African World War”.Despite the signing of peace accords in 2003, fighting continues in the east of the country. In eastern Congo, the prevalence of rape and other sexual violence is described as the worst in the world. The war is the world’s deadliest conflict since World War II, killing 5.4 million people. Fighting continues to this day in the eastern regions…
The war has made the life of women more precarious. Violence against women seems to be perceived by large sectors of society to be normal.” (wikipidia.com)
Children are most vulnerable to the effects of the conflict. Widespread disease and famine are still claiming tens of thousands of lives each month in the DRC; reports point out that approximately half of those numbers are children under the age of 5.
Despite the hardship this country continues to undergo, there is much beauty and robustness in the land and people of the DRC. I look forward to seeing it all for myself one day soon…For more information on the DRC including politics, culture, travel, news, fashion, entertainment, entrepreneurship and more: