Bagrawiyah, Sudan – More than 200km from the Sudanese capital Khartoum, the remains of an ancient city rise from the arid and inhospitable terrain like a science-fiction film set. Nestled between sand dunes, the secluded pyramids seem to have been forgotten by the modern world, with no nearby restaurants or hotels to cater to tourists.
18 months of horrific bloodshed in Central African Republic (CAR) left more than 400,000 people internally displaced and some 200,000 fleeing into neighboring countries. In February 2014 there were more than 62,000 people from CAR registered as refugees in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) with almost 90% of them living in three refugee camps located in the Province of Equateur, North-Western DRC – Mole camp in the town of Zongo, Inke camp in Gbadolite and Boyabu camp in Libenge.
“I believe that imagination is stronger than knowledge. That myth is more potent than history. That dreams are more powerful than facts. That hope always triumphs over experience. That laughter is the only cure for grief. And I believe that love is stronger than death.”
― Robert Fulghum
Children in Mole refugee camp in the town of Zongo, DR Congo (DRC), March 2014. Probably most of these children have seem more violence than you can imagine. If your are not familiar with the level of cruelty during the conflict in Central African Republic, I can tell you that some of the refugees who escaped in DRC have told stories of hundreds of hacked bodies and body parts stacked in churches and mosques ( Google knows everything, just try it. Or check out The War Across The River ).
Looking at these children’s faces, one can only wonder how some of them still have a smile on their face and a light of hope in their eyes.
While walking around the small town of Libenge in DR Congo, I saw this kid standing there on his own, not bothered by the noise around him (as I remember there were few kids playing around), busy with his thoughts an the piece of wood (or whatever was that) that kept his hands occupied .
While my colleagues were buying all the bottled water and biscuits from a shop in the local market, these boys were trying to get my attention to be my models for that short moment. The honesty of their joy when I showed them the photo touched me. I still remember it like it was yesterday.
This young girl looked like she was walking with a purpose and not just taking whom I presume was her brother, out for a late afternoon leisure walk. I smiled but she didn’t smile back and we both just carried on.