Witnessing in the Congo DRC, Africa

by Danica Anderson

If you had the exquisite pleasure to witness the Congo-Africa, I am sure you would witness what I have observed.  The violence and conflicts are intergenerational practices in postlithic societies.

It is no small wonder that Post Traumatic stress is, also, intergenerational.  In Paleolithic and Neolithic eras, stress helped generate collaborative practices and connectivity prospecting social positive growth.

As I witness the trauma within the peoples of Africa, I observe how stress is used to have submission and to create the impregnating prison called poverty.  It is a well-known fact that stress in females causes more sons to be born.   My intuitive grasp of the fact that more sons are born under maternal stress is as if it were to birth more warriors to the global army called violence.

From the book “On Deep History and the Brain,” neurophysiologist Robert Sapolsky neurophysiologist is quoted as saying “When humans invented poverty, they came up with a way of subjugating the low-ranking like nothing ever before seen in the primate world.”  In the human world – supposedly superior to the primate world- seems to have increased the mechanisms to perpetuate and foster stress hormones- creating physical poverty and spiritual poverty.

Despite the seemingly endless and chronic poverty and violence I have observed the small acts moving past the traumas, tragedies and poverty in the most unexpected places and spaces.

When I am offered the observation of billowing African rain clouds dropping rain onto refugee’s meager gardens, and dancing children shrieking delight opening the windows and gates of the poverty prison instantly are opened.  I see the return to the Paleolithic and Neolithic eras and practices, where Mother Nature heals and provides signposts for much needed relief from domineering stress crashing down on their shoulders.

As the Congolese children cavort in the Mother Nature’s elements, with some children in rags or naked in their poverty, I witness a powerful coalition in which the weak can be empowered and over power the warriors of violence/poverty.  I passed one Congolese mother hoeing her luscious garden on a steep incline as her three children play nearby. Another is singing as she carries a bundle of heavy sticks on her head.

In the Congo, the environment teaches me that the real intention for my visit here is to uncover the world of peoples who are not in history or media except as victims. I ache to see the powerful coalition and their first person stories unfolded in history books and media. It is important to have the laughter from children and having the small acts women do across the globe in the evening newscasts.

I see the Congolese women as the true form of what we call heroines as they grow food, nurture and care for their children.  The Congolese children squealing with laughter as the soft rain spills from dramatically beautiful rain clouds above are the empowered forces that quell the ruling oligarchies in an instant.

I am witnessing the laughter and glee of Congolese children and the passion of Congolese women hoeing their gardens as an empowering social memory that easily moves past the stress mechanisms readily induced in their lives and our lives.

What if we decided to witness the peoples who are left without a written word and without written histories of their invisible lives?  What would we learn?

We would learn that the young are rising populations here…most are orphans left to die where they tread…. Women are objects of abuse and violence and die in great numbers.  Childbirth is one of the leading causes of death.

Sometimes, bearing witness fills us with the burden of insight.