WALTER JAMES

Walter James (SOS Femme en Danger – SOSFED): Walter graduated in 2006 from the University of Minnesota. Following college, he worked on international development in Haiti and Senegal, and studied human rights and international development in Senegal, Costa Rica, and Morocco. Walter first visited Eastern Congo as a 2009 Peace Fellow for The Advocacy Project, where he documented the work of civil society organizations such as SOS Femmes en Danger, Arche d’Alliance, and Tunza Mazingira. The following year, he graduated from the University of Maryland School of Public Policy with a Master’s degree in Public Policy.



Greetings from Uvira

21 Jan

So, here I am in Uvira, South Kivu Province, the Democratic Republic of Congo. Things are a bit different since I was here last time, but I think most of the changes are due to the fact that I have arrived in the middle of the rainy season this time around. In general, this means life is hot, muggy, and fairly dirty. Already I’ve surprised myself with my own odor and hustled off to find some water to wash. Fortunately, office decorum here in the Congo is a bit more relaxed than in the States, so even if there isn’t much water to wash with, folks don’t mind it too much.

I live in a house in the very crowded Kimanga neighborhood. My housemate is Amisi Mas, SOS FED’s able field officer. This house is hooked up for running water and electricity, however unreliable they are. From my caged-in “porch”, I can see a small slice of Lake Tanganyika; the distant, murky shore of Gatumba is barely visible on the other side of the skinny lake.

At night, you can sit and listen to the deafening buzz of insects. Under the insects’ chatter, you can just hear the soft undercurrent of Kiswahili conversation in the houses next-door, like listening to a quiet brook flowing in the dark. Not much gunfire, thank goodness.

Uvira in general seems a little more prosperous, a little more secure. More motorcycles clogging the roads, but the main road running through town is really starting to crumble into nothing. Since it is rainy season, sections of the road are dominated by puddles the size of your average backyard swimming pool. Mosquitoes are very prevalent, and I wonder how long I can go without contracting malaria.

Right now Ned, Marceline, Amisi, and I are working out what needs to be done for 2011. I am pretty happy to be back among the Congolese people, that is for sure. Stay tuned for more.

Posted By WALTER JAMES

Posted Jan 21st, 2011

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