Elisa Garcia

Elisa Garcia (Bureau pour le Voluntaries au service de l’Enfance et de la Sante - BVES): Elisa, a Spanish national, studied at the Université Libre de Bruxelles (Brussels, Belgium) from 2004 to 2005. In 2006, she graduated with a MA in Media Studies from the Universidad Complutense de Madrid (Spain), In September 2007 Elisa entered a PHD program at the University of Deusto (Bilbao, Spain). She graduated in 2008 with a MA of Peace and Conflict Studies. Between March 2008 and March 2009 Elisa served as a visiting researcher in the Peace Studies Group in the CES (Center for Social Studies) of University of Coimbra (Portugal). She has also interned at Scouts, Amnesty International and a nature preservation foundation.



THE STRANGE PARADISE OF IDWJI ISLAND

25 Aug

Views from Idwji

I go to the port very early in the morning because I have assumed that the colour of my skin will make the procedure of crossing any border, leaving any port or taking off from any airport in the DRC more boring, stressing and annoying than usual. I am expecting anything.

After a boring, stressing and annoying procedure (I was right) I get onto the Mugote boat and I sit to wait for my colleagues from AFEM. Jolly Kamuntu makes it just before the boat leaves… I am already chewing the strips of my backpack, without her I am lost. She confesses that she has called to the port to say she was late; they know her. Who wouldn´t? She is on of the reporters of “the community radio” of the province… in a province where  media means radio and community radio means that the people have the right to speak.

While we are crossing the Lake Kivu in this amazingly stable boat Jolly and Kiza (from AFEM-Uvira) explain to me a litte bit about the women of Idwji and the programme for the following days. We are offered some cheese, bread and drinks and while I am thinking about the life in the huge island of Idwji I am wondering why are these Congolese so (randomly) quiet….and I realise that they are actually very concentrated on the TV, that shows (only shows because there is no volume -surrealistic Congo-) how Sally Field is trying to escape with her daughter in the streets of Teheran… Congo has the endless capacity to surprise me.

I decide to go out and enjoy the views…. we make it to Idwji some hours later. The car driver of Manvu hospital is waiting for us (it is the “ambulance” but as there are only three or four cars on the island he drives around all the time picking people up… in fact, on our way back we are: the journalists, a priest, two nuns, a very ill girl who gave birth two days ago and must have a sort of infection, her husband, two other women, a chicken and at least 35 pineapples). We drive through the villages and hills of southern Idwji Island til we make it to the parish of Kasofo, where we will be hosted. 

There are three priests in this huge catholic parish: Abbé Francois, Abbé Rogatien and Abbé Gustave. They are great, wellcoming and very well educated, so they are an amazing source of valuable information about the life of the islanders. Apart from the ministerial activities (mess and sacraments) they run: a guesthouse and a mixed boarding school. The parrish is one of the centres of the social life in the area and the morning mess (6.30 a.m) is quite an interesting experience (drums, singing, dancing…).

During the following days I discover that Idwji is a strange paradise (the only territory of South Kivu with no armed groups and insecurity) where all tropical fruits (and anything) grow. The peoples are humble and wellcoming, the landscapes are breathtaking, it is never hot due to its hight and there are no mosquitos… the poverty, the lack of education and the absence of drinking water make of Idwji a complicated eden where you can eat as much pineapple as you want.

Posted By Elisa Garcia

Posted Aug 25th, 2009