Here is the first of two report/blogs sent by John Kahekwa of the PolePole Foundation (POPOF) in Bukavu, located in the South Kivu region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and is about two hundred miles to the south of Goma which was recently taken by the M23 militia. John has been for years been trying to rebuild the local community, including schools and jobs, while also trying to protect the gorillas in Kahuzi-Biega National Park.
It has been almost seven months since hostilities begun from Rutshuru in the North province. Goma the capital of the North Kivu got captured and is occupied by M23 troops: this news is broadcast world-wide.
North Kivu province has got a richer soil than the South Kivu province and different crops are harvested in great quantity such as beans, Irish potatoes, cassava flour including salt and smoked fish from lakes Albert and Edward.
Bukavu, the capital of south Kivu Province, relies on the crops from Goma town; businessmen and women travel everyday by different ferries and they buy and bring stocks and stocks of different foods to Bukavu for sale.
However a change has came which weighs on both the people of Bukavu and Goma: there is no more movement by boat on the Lake Kivu from Goma to Bukavu or visa versa and has become a burden to both people. Goma relies on buyers from Bukavu while Bukavu relies on Goma’s food consumers.
Goma’s citizens are complaining about missing buyers from Bukavu while Bukavu complains for not having Goma’s food access. Food prices have gone up for Bukavu citizens: 50 kg of beans which cost USD 42 before the troubles now cost USD48. In Goma there is a scarcity of fresh water and they have no power, with electricity coming from Bukavu.
We desperately want to see the end of troubles in this country so that we can live proper lives and not just live with fighting all the time.
John Kahekewa: http://www.polepolefoundation.org