Life in DR Congo
One topic that I haven’t touched on too much yet revolves around all the expats who are living and working DR Congo. It’s a screwy thing that I’ve only started to have a couple contiguous of thoughts about it. Let’s start with what’s good about the people living in DR Congo.
For one, this is a country that is tough to live in. Beyond the diseases, poverty, and hellish climate (mostly in the west) these are people that have given a chunk of their lives to try and improve the situation in Congo whether through MONUSCO, Doctors Without Borders, the Red Cross, USAID, Oxfam, or any other number of aid agencies that are operating in DR Congo. Even if people come with the delusion of grandeur that they’re going to be saving African babies from the ravages of war, they are still coming to help. This puts them in a class that’s above and beyond the vast majority of the rest of us from First World countries who might give a bit of money here and there to these causes if we’re feeling really generous. This is what is good about these people and a great many of them work for next to no money when they come, so it really is altruistic and genuine……..
Life in Russia
Russia and Africa have always been strange bedfellows. The two are not exactly geographically positioned to be well-acquainted, and the Russians accordingly had to spend several centuries subduing the wilds of northeastern and central Asia and the marches of Eastern Europe while their European imperial adversaries were busy pillaging the continent. As such, it was not until the mid-19th century that St. Petersburg was able to start engaging with the continent. The Orthodox Christian character of Ethiopia made it a natural contact point, and it was here that the Russians established their first relations. There was even a short-lived attempt at founding a colony in modern-day Djibouti in 1889, which is a little tangential to this post but is so bizarre I might write something on it in the future. At any rate, Eurasian expansion remained the primary concern for the Russian tsars, and so links with Africa were sparse at best in the imperial era.