This summer, Humans of New York did a feature on the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Here were some of the stories that the photographer gathered.
Everything from the power of passion…
"I’m studying to be a civil engineer. Congo needs everything: bridges, roads, buildings, wells. The country is like a workshop."
To stories of tragedy…
"When I was thirteen years old, government troops passed through our town when they were fleeing the rebels. At first I heard the gunfire, and then they came into our house and took everything they could. I was hiding under the bed. I heard them say they were going to kill my mother. One of them took off all my sister’s clothes. But at the last moment he was pulled away, because the other soldiers told him there wasn’t time for that."
To stories that remind us of our humanity…
"I have a one-and-a-half year old daughter at home. There are two things that we do every day. When I get home from work in the evening, she runs to me, and asks me to buy her a sausage. And every morning when she wakes up— at exactly 5:30 AM — she needs to go to the bathroom, and she screams for me to bring her the pot. She never screams for Mom. Just for me. How this became my job, I don’t know.”
To the dreams of children…
"What is your biggest dream?"
"To have my own house. With two stories."
To an ongoing journey…
"I’ve had to run from war twice. Both times I left good jobs behind, and it was very painful. The second time was the worst. I thought I’d escaped a hopeless situation, and then it happened again. You can feel when war is coming to your town. Traffic picks up. People’s faces begin to look very worried. Nobody cares for each other. If someone talks to you, you can tell that they want the conversation to end as soon as possible. The second time I had to run, I thought: ‘This time I have to get as far away as possible.’ So I came all the way to Kinshasa."
"Were you worried the war would reach Kinshasa?"
"No. Because the wars have all been about Kinshasa. So if the war reaches Kinshasa, the war is over."
To stories that remind us why we do what we do…
“I’d like them to be ministers or business people. But this one is supposed to start school this year, and I don’t have the money to send him."
To dreams, no matter how big or how small…
"I’m studying to be a lawyer. He likes books about frogs."
To laughter in spite of everything.
“She said she’d let me take her photo if I bought some peanuts from her. Afterward, I asked if she could remember the saddest moment of her life. She laughed, and said: ‘You’re going to need to buy some more peanuts.’”
And yet there are so many stories yet untold. But as we wrote this, we discovered that there is now a "Humans of DR Congo" facebook page... Make sure to check it out for more stories! We hope you are all having a lovely Congo week, and that you choose to continue to learn about our partners in the Democratic Republic of the Congo!
Heather and Maggie