I actually posted this in a previous Montage Monday about the Democratic Republic of Congo. However, the great thing about this being my blog is that I make my own rules. So, I’m posting it again :)
Story Behind the Sign:
I originally made plans to go to Congo without telling anyone. I didn’t want to be talked out of it (since I knew of everyone’s disapproval), nor did I want anyone to worry while I was there. But, I made a hasty decision to drop my family and close friends an email the day before I left just in case. I got through the border quite easily the following morning (with the exception of this big mean woman yelling at my guide and passing over my passport to help locals instead). But my relaxed and safe feeling I had in Rwanda quickly became a wide-eyed fixation on the scenery as we passed the UN trucks and camps on the way to the park. When we made it to Virunga National Park, where I would be starting the trek up Nyiragongo Volcano, I was first greeted by the sign pictured. Nothing says ‘Welcome to a spectacular national park’ like a sign covered in bullet holes. The park was previously known as Albert National Park, and as you can see, the sign has taken a bit of a beating from rebels in the area over the years. This very sign has to be, hands down, the souvenir I wanted most on my trip and couldn’t have. And, I probably would have tempted to steal it if I didn’t fear sitting in a Congo prison after the horror stories I heard the previous week. I’m thrilled though that they left it up, even after the park changed names, so that I could see it. If you enjoy offbeat adventures as much as I do (or at least photos of them), check out the original post featuring this photo.
By the way, these are not the type of photos you should show friends and family if you’re trying to convince them that it’s okay to travel in war-torn countries. Best to stick with the pretty places and smiling faces type of photos. Just a suggestion.