Thursday, December 24, 2009

Rwanda's Gacaca Reconciliation Courts

Here is a WSJ article on the wrapping up of Rwanda's government-sponsored reconciliation courts that were set up to process many of the accused perpetrators of the 1994 genocide.  (See the NYer reconciliation article linked to in the right margin)  This Journal article does a good job of briefly describing the progress the courts have brought about but also the significant human rights concerns they raise.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Funding of the Congolese Rebels in Eastern DRC.

Here is a NYT article describing a new significant internal UN report on how the Congolese rebels have been financially supported and allowed to operate in Eastern Congo.  The conflict in this region has resulted in over 4 million deaths as factions within the country, other nations in the region, and international economic and diplomatic interests worldwide have been involved in the ethnic clashes, highly profitable mining of several essential minerals, and failed and flawed peacekeeping efforts.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Trip to Kinshasa, DRC

Shortly after arriving in Brazzaville, I went with the rest of our team across the river to Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo, for a couple of days of meetings and work with HOPE's operation that has been serving DRC since 2004.  It was a great opportunity for us to understand their team's best practices and lessons learned.  However, I didn't get to explore much of the city, and its technically illegal to take photographs in public in DRC without permission, so the pictures are limited and often a little crooked as I tried to take them stealthily.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Quick Stopover in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

On my way from Kigali to Brazzaville, I had a brief stop over in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia.  The shuttle dropped me off at the hotel around midnight and picked me up at 6 the next morning, so I didn't have time for much beyond taking some pictures out of my hotel window.

See how many satellite dishes you can spot in the picture below.  Pretty incredible for corrugated aluminum shacks.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Thanksgiving Feast

We had a big crew and a great spread for Thanksgiving in Kigali, just a couple of days before I had to leave for Brazzaville.  My housemate found a massive burner that allowed me to fry a couple of turkeys despite the shallow pot.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Leftover Shots from Time in Kigali

Here are just some random pictures from Kigali over the last couple of months that I hadn't posted or put in any of the albums.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Weekend in Kampala

In one of my last weekends in East Africa, I finally got up to Kampala, the capital of Uganda.  A fairly big group of us from Kigali made the journey,  despite it being about a 10 hour bus ride.  It was a quick trip, and I didn't get to take a lot of pictures.  However,  it was great getting to see Kampala - a larger and more developed city than Kigali - and a handful of us went white water rafting on the Nile, which is about an hour east of the city.  I hope to get some pictures up from the river up at a later date.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Trip to Bujumbura, Burundi

Last weekend, one of my housemates and I went down to Bujumbura, the capital of Burundi.  Burundi is almost the exact same size as Rwanda and shares its southern border and similar geography.  However, conditions in Burundi are much worse than those in Rwanda.  It has the third lowest per capita GDP on earth and an active rebel group still dominates the northwest region of the country.  In fact, the road from Kigali to Bujumbura we took runs through this region, but you can't travel it at night because the army closes it due to safety concerns.

All that said, Bujumbura sits on the northern end of Lake Tanganyika and has beautiful beaches and a great view of DRC's mountains across the lake.  We spent a lot of our time at a little beach club that has opened in the last year and is frequented by the UN expats and the US Marines from the Embassy.