2007.01.17: January 17, 2007: Headlines: COS - Congo Kinshasa: Safety: Evacuation: Blogs - Congo Kinshasa: Personal Web Site: Congo Kinshasa RPCV Gozu writes: I was a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Middle of Zaire 1991 when Emergency Evac orders came down

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Congo - Kinshasa (Zaire): Peace Corps Congo Kinshasa : Peace Corps Congo Kinshasa: New Stories: 2007.01.17: January 17, 2007: Headlines: COS - Congo Kinshasa: Safety: Evacuation: Blogs - Congo Kinshasa: Personal Web Site: Congo Kinshasa RPCV Gozu writes: I was a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Middle of Zaire 1991 when Emergency Evac orders came down

By Admin1 (admin) (ppp-70-249-83-39.dsl.okcyok.swbell.net - 70.249.83.39) on Thursday, March 15, 2007 - 8:50 am: Edit Post

Congo Kinshasa RPCV Gozu writes: I was a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Middle of Zaire 1991 when Emergency Evac orders came down

Congo Kinshasa RPCV Gozu writes: I was a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Middle of Zaire 1991  when Emergency Evac orders came down

I drove my motorcycle across the bush in a thunderstorm and rallied at a point of origin (the thunderstorm was hell). We drove into Mbuji-Mayi and the volunteers buried equipment and vacated the house to a Diamond Merchants house protected by British Mercs. We listened over the radio as our friends in Kasai Oriental were grenaded and volunteers and merchants hog tied by the Zaire Military. Contact was lost and then regained (we met them in the Congo. They were allright..sort of.) The city emptied out overnight. We knew something was about to happen. After a sleepless night word came in that a Hercules C-130 piloted by Marines and Belgian paratroopers was coming. We drove into the airport (tarmac with bamboo poles). Zairians got mad we were leaving and began to stone us, while saying, "Please don't go." They have strong throws. I can see how you could get stoned to death.

Congo Kinshasa RPCV Gozu writes: I was a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Middle of Zaire 1991 when Emergency Evac orders came down

Wednesday, January 17, 2007


Thanks to the Miitary an unreported event repost
Current mood: awake
Category: Writing and Poetry

I was a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Middle of Zaire 1991, in the village of Munyenge. I was doing fisheries management in a 70-KL radius. I was given a motorcycle and two barrels of gas to last me for 8 months. I spoke French, Tshiluba, Bena Budia, Ciluba, some Swahili.

I was basically a mutt. There were so many tribes in the area and I was posted out there in the middle of nowhere. Some Africans would run away when they saw me. My friends were all Zairian. I would play cards; eat bugs, fu-fu, manioc, and really anything that wasn't human.

My days were spent visiting fishponds and training Zairians in how to dig ponds and raise tilapia (it was a successful project. The only one I've seen.) Nights were spent talking, dancing, or drinking with Zairians and listening to the BBC. Sometimes I would walk up the villages and see what was up. This was always big news. They had a meeting and determined I was not a cannibal. I really don't know how that rumor got started.

One day the country blew up. Mobutu lost control of his military and they went berserk. I was in my hut listening to frantic diplomats on the BBC, but I thought to myself. I'm way out in the bush. There are riots all the time. So what? I'll run the roadblocks and pretend I am ignorant (this is accomplished by gunning the motorcycle, waving in a friendly manner to the Zaire military roadblock, as they chase you blowing whistles or waving guns. They never shoot..No bullets. Usually.)

The villagers then came up and told me I could hide in the trees with them. I knew it was trouble. What the hell do I do?

Emergency Evac orders came down. Regional Reps drove all the way to my site for a pullout. Told me I had an hour to get ready and leave. They were nervous. The city was very quite..Empty.

I drove my motorcycle across the bush in a thunderstorm and rallied at a point of origin (the thunderstorm was hell). We drove into Mbuji-Mayi and the volunteers buried equipment and vacated the house to a Diamond Merchants house protected by British Mercs.

We listened over the radio as our friends in Kasai Oriental were grenaded and volunteers and merchants hog tied by the Zaire Military. Contact was lost and then regained (we met them in the Congo. They were allright..sort of.)

The city emptied out overnight. We knew something was about to happen. After a sleepless night word came in that a Hercules C-130 piloted by Marines and Belgian paratroopers was coming.

We drove into the airport (tarmac with bamboo poles). Zairians got mad we were leaving and began to stone us, while saying, "Please don't go." They have strong throws. I can see how you could get stoned to death.

I guess the diamond merchants had paid off the local Zaire military commander. His small unit charged the crowd, clicked off the safeties and said, "the next stone thrown, we mow you all down." They rammed a firetruck into the crowd. More stuff happened. It was confusing at this point.

Finally we saw the plane. It landed fast and the Belgian paratroopers stormed out faster than hell and secured the landing strip. They moved really fast with massive weapons.

They said "American Volunteers first." Yeeehaaa! Marines were in the plane piloting it.

On the bumpy ride back we tried talking to the 18 year old paratroopers in French. They told us, "We speak English, we hate speaking French." That was new to me. I guess they prefer to speak English and Frankish or something like that?

When we left...the city blew up. Paratroopers told me it was like a bomb went off.

So I basically owe my life to the logistical support, planning, and coordination of our military. I always ran into marines and military overseas, who were busy saving people's asses and risking their lives. Most of it goes unnoticed or unreported.




Links to Related Topics (Tags):

Headlines: January, 2007; Peace Corps Congo Kinshasa; Directory of Congo Kinshasa RPCVs; Messages and Announcements for Congo Kinshasa RPCVs; Safety and Security of Volunteers; Blogs - Congo Kinshasa





When this story was posted in March 2007, this was on the front page of PCOL:


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Story Source: Personal Web Site

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Congo Kinshasa; Safety; Evacuation; Blogs - Congo Kinshasa

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