Congo River

By Per-Anders Pettersson – Imagine traveling on two rusty barges connected to a tugboat, loaded with forty tons of palm oil, several hundred bags of maize and about five hundred passengers sleeping in the open in conditions resembling conditions in a refugee camp. Imagine a vessel without any lifeboats, life jackets, a badly trained crew, and no communication equipment in case of emergency. Not even a radio. Mobile phones only work in bigger cities along the way. Five weeks of fighting among the crew, between passengers, domestic violence…fighting every night. Every day you have to wrestle to secure a place to cook, sleep and to place your children and baggage. Next to you are pigs, goats, monkeys, lizards, crocodiles, snakes, parrots, etc. Five hundred passengers have to share two toilets. All the passengers wash themselves and drink the river water. No fresh water onboard. This is boat travel today on the Congo River.