A post about traveling
“Which countries are you going to visit during your adventure?”
“I’m going to travel through South America.”
As long as you stay away from Columbia, they think.
Well, that’s just normal. Everyone goes to Europe.
“Be careful. I heard there’s a war in Congo. Everyone is dying.”
That’s what Westerners, en masse, think of Congo. If you ask your neighbors what Congo is like, they will tell you the country is at war, there’s no food, disease is rampant, and everyone is dying. And I assure you that none of those people have ever actually been to Congo.
Most of us judge religions, races, and countries based on the news. If you consider recent media related to Congo, it’s no wonder the world thinks this way.
The country has viruses.
- Ebola outbreak kills 10 in Congo [CNN]
- How We Found the Deadly Bas-Congo Virus [National Geographic]
War and death is certainly present.
- Congolese warlord Lubanga gets 14 years for using child soldiers; will serve 8 [CNN]
- Congo’s Death Rate Unchanged Since War Ended [NY Times]
Violence is on the uprise.
- Eastern Congo City Sees Rise in Violence [ABC News]
And as a cherry on top, TIME Magazine took the liberty of preparing a photo essay to really drive the point home.
But I live in Congo right now. And I can promise you one thing—not everyone in Africa is dying. I feel safer living in Congo than I did in America. And that’s the truth.
In fact, many of the locals I’ve met are very happy. Happier than most of the people I know at home in Canada. These people aren’t stressed out over trivial things like how they’re going to finance their new BMW.
Granted, there is a war happening here. But it’s happening in just 1 of the 11 provinces in this country. I’m not sure if you’re doing the math, but I reckon that means less than 10% of the country is at war.
I spent a month in Bolivia earlier this year, and despite the police protests and uprisings happening in the mines, I never once encountered unrest. There were armed guards at every corner, but there was no violence to be found.
A friend of mine recently returned from Egypt. She saw nothing of the protests or the impending war. She simply watched her back, kept her cool, accepted people, saw one of the great wonders of the world, and made an amazing new friend.
Understand that the news covers concentrated events. If there is a small uprising in some remote part of a country, the news will convince people that the entire country is at war and everyone is dying. It’s all exaggerated in the name of entertainment.
I stopped following the news and have only experienced positive change in my life since. I’ve learned to focus on the good instead of the bad. I’ve had the privilege of creating my own opinions rather than relying on someone I’ve never met to create them for me.
At the end of the day, you will still hear about the really important global affairs because people will tell you. People always feel the need to share the news with you.
And just this once, give the world a chance.