Sienna Miller: A Diary from Democratic Republic of Congo

April 27, 2009 - By Sienna Miller

Photo: Margaret Aguirre

International Medical Corps is working with with Takepart.com, Participant Media’s social action website, to raise awareness of the long-running conflict in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo and its devastating impact on women and children.

Air America’s Ron Regan talks with Sienna about her trip to DRC, listen to the full interview.



Final Day

It has been a whirlwind three days and so much has happened that I don’t even know where to begin. Twenty four hours of the last seventy two have been spent in a car so we’re all feeling weary. I’m not sure if I even have the energy to attempt eloquence but I’ll give it a shot.

We left Bukavu for Chambucha on Wednesday morning at six. The journey was everything we had been warned about and more: muddy roads that could swallow a truck, flat tires, makeshift bridges, military checkpoints, very young men with very large weapons. It was a six-hour drive through Kahuzi Biega National Park and north to Chambucha. The scenery was breathtaking. Thick dense jungle, bamboo trees and wild orchids, monkeys, every shade of green you could possibly imagine. Enormous spider webs and their equally enormous creators, such a change from the urban feel of Bukavu. There were children swimming in the river that borders the forest where the FDLR (Rwandan rebel group) are in hiding, and where the FARDC (Congolese government troops) have taken positions along the road, weapons trained at their sides. And that’s what’s so confusing about this place…utter purity and beauty juxtaposed with brutal violence.


Read Sienna's entire blog on takepart.com


Day 3

I'm sitting in the dark, due to a huge rainstorm as I write this, from the balcony of the International Medical Corps guesthouse in Bukavu, eastern DRC. We left Goma at the crack of dawn and sandwiched ourselves onto a boat that was full way beyond capacity. And we laughed the whole way because despite the immense darkness that exists here this country is beautiful in so many ways. Bukavu feels far more city like and certainly more developed than Goma, and equal in beauty and charm. We came to visit Panzi Hospital, where International Medical Corps is training doctors and which has become world-renowned largely because of its incredible work with thousands of women who are in need of surgical repair for a condition called “fistula,” a severe gynecologic rupture. It’s a frighteningly common condition in eastern DRC – because of lack of obstetric care, and the epidemic of rape.


Read Sienna's entire blog on takepart.com


Day 2 

I'm sitting in the dark, due to a huge rainstorm as I write this, from the balcony of the International Medical Corps guesthouse in Bukavu, eastern DRC. We left Goma at the crack of dawn and sandwiched ourselves onto a boat that was full way beyond capacity. And we laughed the whole way because despite the immense darkness that exists here this country is beautiful in so many ways. Bukavu feels far more city like and certainly more developed than Goma, and equal in beauty and charm. We came to visit Panzi Hospital, where International Medical Corps is training doctors and which has become world-renowned largely because of its incredible work with thousands of women who are in need of surgical repair for a condition called “fistula,” a severe gynecologic rupture. It’s a frighteningly common condition in eastern DRC – because of lack of obstetric care, and the epidemic of rape.


Read Sienna's entire blog on takepart.com

 

Day 1

We boarded the flight to Rwanda having spent a night in a gorgeous old colonial hotel in Nairobi. Felt such anticipation as we flew over Lake Victoria and watched the landscape beneath us with its deep reds transforming into luscious green and mountainous peaks. Rwanda is so full of history and so far from home. A country that has been ravaged by war and yet once landing we were met by a sea of smiling faces and stunning landscape. The only reminder of genocide on our four-hour drive to the border of Congo was the banners the universal language of love.


Read Sienna's entire blog on takepart.com

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