Black & White: Kids In The Congo.
Nisa’s first trip to Africa brought quite a turmoil within the family, friends and neighborhood; We were going to bring out baby daughter Nisa with us on our next trip to the black continent, and this resulted in the unison appraisal that I’d gone mad. Nobody wanted to believe the fact, that we had the idea, to let baby-Nisa explore the world with us…
Nothing could stop our idea; the only person who gave some support was a doctor friend, who provided us with medicine, baby syringes, infusions, first aid kits and a brief introduction on what to do in an emergency. With 800 nappies, lots of bottles, heaps of baby food, a good stove & fridge, and also a bit of a queasy feeling, our big truck rolled out of Vienna.
We soon found out, that the entire trip had to be customized to our little girl. Normally, you’re tired after hours of driving on very bad roads, or having to fill up 20 jerry cans, or having to change a tire, set up a tent , plus, plus, plus … Nisa fell asleep in her seat, the minute we started the truck. And as soon as we stopped to fix something, she awoke. When we would need four hands to do some maintenance on the car, it was all but certain that Nisa needed attention.
So the trip on a barge upwards on the river Congo for a few days was a well deserved break for us. After the truck was uploaded (under difficult conditions) onto deck of the barge, our holiday started :)
I did not switch my eyes off Nisa during the entire trip; there was no railing and about 2.000 people travelling upriver on this conglomerate of barges roped together…Except a second couple from Switzerland (who also travelled by car), there were no other tourists on this journey. And as you can imagine, most of the local travellers wanted to get a glimpse at the little white girl. Most people there have seen a white person before, but such a tiny one? Well, it didn’t seem like it. It was a “hello” here, a “hello” there. Everybody paraded by at the truck to have a look and Nisa & as soon as they did, it put a smile on their face :)
Anyway, there was this one guy with his own daughter who had the idea with the picture. I took a couple of shots with my old Canon camera and rolls of films with Nisa and this dark Congolese girl. The girl’s father was so happy and proud; unfortunately we did not get an address to send him a copy, I bet he would have loved the picture as much as we do.
With this photo we also won the 1st prize in the Amnesty International photo contests “Ja zu Vielfalt! Nein zu Diskriminierung!” (in English this would mean “Yes to diversity! No to discrimination!”