Mar 27, 2015
This has been my 8th mission with MSF and the destination is South Kivu in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). I will be there for three months mainly for the purpose of coaching the national doctors and upgrade their surgical skill.
For me, it's a bit weird as it seems too routine for me and there's a total lack of excitement on departing so maybe I need some inspiration to boost my will and motivation to help all these needy people I meet in my life path and I wish I'll encounter the inspiration that I'm so eager to have in the coming 3 months.
Talking about DRC, maybe you all will be surprised that it has the biggest humanitarian crisis of modern history with 4 million deaths in the last 20 years. However, it seems it has never been under the spotlight of the developed world which has been so indifferent to what has been happening there.
Colonial powers started to exploit the continent of Africa in the 16th century for the rich resources there. They first concentrated at the African sea coast but with inland exploration, most parts of the inland Africa fell into their hands in the 19th century. DRC, as one of the landlocked countries in Africa, had been a colony of Belgium until 1960s when decolonization came and President Mobutu came into power.
Under Mobutu’s rule, the country suffered from corruption, repression and economic deterioration. The spillover effect of the Rwanda genocide in 1994 further hit the population as it initiated the invasion of the Tutsi from Kigali to clean up the Hutu genocidaires who escaped to the eastern part of DRC (named Zaire at that time). A multinational war within the country followed in 1998, involving Rwanda, Uganda, Burundi and Tazania on one side, and Angola, Zambia, Namibia, Sudan, Chad and Libya on the other side.
This “African world war” ceased in 2002 and now the regime in Kinshasa is relatively stable. But as DRC is a vast country the eastern part has been out of control from the Kinshasa government. The rich mineral resources there attract different armed groups and some neighboring countries. So although it is not anarchic, it is chaotic with conflicts among different armed groups happening on and off.
Statistics-wise, there are 1200 deaths per day in the country because of malnutrition, nonexistence or inaccessibility to healthcare and of course the conflicts. And the eastern part of the country had the worst case scenario. The project site of my coming mission is right at this troubled part of the country and I'm really looking forward to be on the ground to understand how bad the situation is and how much we can offer to this population that seems to be cursed.