The travel was well worth it. We found ourselves in a place far removed from western influences. The local children never got tired of watching us work and every little detail seemed interesting.
We met and stayed with an Italian woman who has lived in the area for the past 35 years. She helps care for the locals by organizing meals and support. Every morning, the children of the village would line up for their daily meal of maize.
We took many long hikes through the jungles in search of places to film. The terrain and trails were very difficult, to say the least. With a full camera kit and as much water as we can carry, 30 kilometers in a day was daunting.
Local Mai-Mai soldiers agreed to accompany us and keep us safe. The Mai-Mai are feared by many, but treated us with great respect. We seemed to entertain them with our struggles on the difficult terrain. To them, it was just another day.
We visited IDP (Internally Displaced People) Camps. These were filled with Congolese people forced out of their homes because of militant fighting or to make way for mining. Many of the people have lived there for years. There are whole generations of children being born into this type of camp life.
It's interesting to me that in the Congo, as with many third world countries, children are full of joy. They seem to lack the petty issues that burden Westerners. And though life is hard, people seem to live in the moment and find pleasure in the simple things.
The trip worked out very well, and I’m looking forward to returning."