Image 1 of 1


LUKUTU, DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO MARCH 20: Boyoko Cathy, age 84 (l) wakes up early in the morning after a heavy rainfall on a boat on March 20, 2006 in Lukutu, Congo, DRC. She traveled with thirteen other family members from a small village about two days walk from Lukutu. The family waited for about one-month for a boat to arrive. The family had decided to travel to Kinshasa in search of a better life and opportunities. A boat with about five hundred people traveling from Kisangani to Kinshasa, a journey of about 1750 kilometers, stopped in the village for about a week. Lukutu, located along the Congo River, is a small village with a palm oil factory and an economy of agriculture and fishing. Congo River is a lifeline for millions of people, who depend on it for transport and trade. During the Mobuto era, big boats run by the state company ONATRA dominated the traffic on the river. These boats had cabins and restaurants etc. All the boats are now private and are mainly barges that transport goods. The crews sell tickets to passengers who travel in very bad conditions, mixing passengers with animals, goods and only about two toilets for five hundred passengers. The conditions on the boats often resemble conditions in a refugee camp. Congo is planning to hold general elections by July 2006, the first democratic elections in forty years. (Photo by Per-Anders Pettersson)