Timothee Rolin, with the coolest blog, a photoblog that chronicles his daily life in Kinshasa, almost minute by minute. I believe Tim is French, and works for the web division of Radio Okapi, the UN-assisted and Fondation Hirondelle-funded nationwide radio for peace and dialogue in Congo. Tim trains the computer people of Radio Okapi. He is also really cool, and caring... Visit the blog (the picture captions are in french however )
Kim Gjerstad, is the person that Tim replaced at Radio Okapi. Kim is from Canada, with, I believe, Norsk and US descent, and he is awesome fun. Very cool! He now works for the Congo branch of the World Conservation Society, and on his blog, you can see some of the pictures he has taken of some of the most remote, yet heavenly areas of the Congo, that I can just dream to go to one day, like the Ruwenzori volcano range. I am so jealous!!! Anyway, he
made me realize that there is some work to be done to render the touristical facilities more welcoming, without becoming as expensive as safari lodges in Kenya... a lot of work! Kim also speaks lingala, which I still cannot get over. In addition to all this, he is becoming as Cngolese as I am, as he really gets the political inuendos in the discourse that many Westerners miss. Great guy! Congo needs to give him a passport!
Cedric Kalonji, is also a Radio Okapi guy! He works there on computers, and he is also a journalist. He is the Congolese guy, the non-expat of the band, and he is every bit as cool and awesome as the others here, if not more. His ability to be open-minded, and to stand his ground when people accuse him of being unpatriotic, because he dares to show on the net, Congo and Kinshasa as it is. I like him because he almost single-handedly gave me back some hope in the youth of my country (I say almost because I think the same of some other journalists in Radio Okapi, like Francoise Mukuku, Eugene Kabambi, and Nicole Ngaka). He has a mixed "writing and photo" blog, that samples various miscellanous sights and goings-on in Kinshasa, and the DRC. Really someone to commend, and a personal pride for me.
Dorothee, or 007 in Africa, is also a humanitarian worker, but she has not said exactly in what. It seems to be in medical care and phamaceuticals. She also has good political and social analysis of the Congo, and she seems to have genuine care for the people that she works for, even when they sometimes get on her nerves :). We all gave her a hard time for buying a bad luck mask from a local sculptor. She is defiitely someone to meet, read, and encourage
Sahara Sarah, from the USA, is working in humanitarian efforts in the East of the country.... read her blog, it is better than any words I can say. She is an aid worker I believe, and she has a very unique senistivity (within this group) , and she brings a fresh voice to the expat stories of the Congo, and what it really is like, doing humanitarian work in Africa. Plus she is a bit of a globe-trotter, and that is just my weak point. I love world-travelling, and world-travellers. Be careful, though, she is know to be a heartbreaker :).
Elia, from Spain, works in Kinshasa too. She blogs in spanish, but understands english and french. Please visit her blog. She has both a regular blog section, and a photoblog section. She also has a more exhaustive listing of the Aid community in Congo and the Great lakes than I can do here. She alows me to practice my sometimes limbing spanish, and she is runing an experience as to people can send her postcards that reach her door, through the fairly corrupt Postal Authority (OCPT).
And last but not least, Heather, The Salon's very own Congogirl, who is an American health and research professional, who does great work in infectious disease research. She is also quite the Congolese, when it comes to it :). She also helps to tell the story of the Congo, like all the above, with a tidbit of that slight cynicism that only Americans have perfected. A very important voice, with a wide range of knowledge on the realities of this planet, and of work in developping countries. Aside from this very intellectual stuff, she is just plain fun!! I am honored to have her on my team here.
These folks (and others) do very important work, they are genuinely helping my country, within the limitations of their means, without overblownthey ought to be commended. They are human, f course, with all the flaws, and the qualities. But they are definitely good people. They are my newest friends on the net, and hopefully also in real life soon!