“As she serves us a dinner of Lake Edward tilapia—grilled with onions and cassava leaves, and accompanied by fried potatoes and extra pili pili sauce—she delivers an assessment of Soco that most residents of the area would agree with.
A future of oil, she fears, will destroy Lake Edward’s fish and pollute the local land and water, putting the existence of her farming community at risk.
When I counter, suggesting that oil might bring jobs and—if Cagle’s words are genuine—better roads, schools, and hospitals, she pauses.
“You know,” she begins slowly, speaking in English, “we are suffering for a long time because of war. But we are independent. “To take a person who is independent and make him be dependent is not simple. Us young people, we say to Soco: No.”
Jon Rosen is a freelance journalist based in Kigali, Rwanda. He reported from Goma and several locations in and around Virunga National Park. Jack Kahorha and Nelson Munganga contributed reporting from Goma.
Source: National Geographic
All Pictures Jan-Joseph Stok/GlobalPost