Fast-Tracking Congo and Wishing for Peace

Ian Cantwell, the Irish historian who wrote the bulk of the award-winning Gorilla Highlands Interactive eBook, returned from Congo two days ago…

Oh yes, we wasted no time! The idea first unveiled in October and discussed at the Bootcamp in November turned into reality in December: fast-tracked inclusion of the Democratic Republic of Congo in the Gorilla Highlands region. We flew Ian back to Africa to do research, gave him Shadia Ntwari as a French-speaking assistant, and briefly sent Miha Logar with them to Goma, Bukavu and Lwiro.

Miha shared his Video Map drafts with various officials (they are posted here and awaiting your feedback on YouTube) and, helped by Shadia, reached out to a number of hoteliers. This was our first step towards getting Congolese competitors to the 2018 edition of the Gorilla Highlands Silverchef at the Kigali Marriott, set for 28-29 April 2018.

Silverchef is envisaged to be the big launch of the three-country Gorilla Highlands region encompassing the entire territory of Rwanda, western Uganda and the Lake Kivu shores of eastern Congo.

Four more months of serious work are ahead of us to achieve that…

Ian is not only adding the DRC to the ebook (and our knowledge base) but Rwanda as well. Many more texts will have to be summarised, people met and maps drawn for us to be ready with the ebook, the Pocket Guide and this website. Thankfully we are getting two Carpe Diem volunteers in February and much online help is being promised by our supporters. A team of about 10 will be working on the projects.

During all that we will have to keep a close eye on the Congo. 2018 is not expected to be an easy year for the country… President Kabila doesn’t seem to be too interested in calling over-due elections and tensions will inevitably mount.

The situation leaves us without a final answer to the question of how Congo will be included in the Gorilla Highlands region: as an integral part or as an adventurous addition? Let’s see what 2018 has in store for us…

Peaceful new year to the people of Congo, and across the planet!

text: Miha Logar; photo: Marcus Westberg