From Congo’s Traditional Healer to Kinshasa’s General Hospital

waiting until Tuesday
Jeanne in the hospital waiting for Tuesday to come — with some trepidation.

We are relieved. More correctly we are hopeful – even confident – that Jeanne will be able to walk again.

We went to Jeanne’s uncle; we went to Jeanne’s older brother. We pleaded with them to convince the family. Finally Tuesday night after all-family caucus the family agreed. The next day she was on the plane with her aunt and a medical doctor, Doctor John. The airlines require a medical caretaker.

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Congo: Multiple Fractures and No Insurance

So, believe in whom you trust and trust what you know.

mother with child with broken legs
Mother cradles son with broken femurs.

Two years ago we sent teams to the most remote villages to record people’s opinions about the coming national park. They brought back harrowing tales, along with filled out questionnaires. How is a medical emergency handled without doctors, medicines, first aid equipment or even roads?

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Walking with Polio above the Lomami

Post by John Hart

On my last trip from Kindu to the Lomami River, I stopped at the little village of Bolaiti perched on a bluff overlooking the river just south of the park. It was here, in March 2011, during our bicycle and walking tour of the Lomami Park that we met Alima, a school girl crippled by polio. She moved across the mud and ruts on her knees to greet us. “She is number one in school”, her Mom told us proudly.

We decided then and there to try to do something for her. The German Ambassador, Peter Blomeyer, a member of our party, paid for her trip to Kindu on the back of her uncle’s bicycle (40$); a reader of this blog in New York City, Claudia Catania, contributed to make the operation possible (255$).

Alima at our house in Kindu
Alima in Kindu, before her surgery.

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Dugout Trip to Reclaim the Northern Lomami Park

We pushed off from Opala with two pigs, four goats, several chickens and a duck to eat along the way.

The dugout was a bit crowded
We were a bit crowded in the dugout.

We had to make the trip. It was the only way to know if armed rebels still lurk the banks of the Lomami River; the only way to know if the doomed village has entirely disappeared; the only way to make good on the new law proclaiming as Provincial Park more than 6000km2. Without phone, Internet or even other travelers along the river – we had to do it ourselves

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