National Geographic : 1992 Mar
Forum Zaire River We were the other two American passengers on the boat described in "Lifeline for a Nation Zaire River" (November 1991). Bob Caputo's photographs document our initial immersion in Zairian culture; we spent the following year as International Partners with Habitat for Humanity and were struck by the camaraderie among the people and by their friendliness to us as we attempted to learn the Lingala language. TRUDY AND ANDY ANDERSON Springfield, Oregon At the October Commonwealth conference in Harare, Zimbabwe, Canadian Prime Minister Bri an Mulroney called for a link between aid to Third World countries and human rights abuses. He was criticized by many who are aid recipients. After reading about life on the Zaire River, I think his suggestions may be justified. Donors must question the advisability of NOTRE DAME, PARIS, FRANCE. 11:07 A.M. STILL GOING. providing billions of aid dollars that do not reach people in need. How many examples of dollars di verted into the pockets of leaders do we need be fore the leaders are held accountable? LINDA HESLEGRAVE Toronto, Ontario Caputo's story of madness and mayhem on board the Zaire River boat makes me shudder all over again. I'll never forget the charred monkeys, squealing pigs, fat white grubs squirming in bowls of dirt, and the loud rhythms of electric African rock blaring day and night. Last year I endured the trip for only four days and stepped off in Kisangani feeling like a survivor. RICHARD FOOT Halifax, Nova Scotia Your article describes central Africa's great river as "once called the Congo." This will come as a surprise to the two million citizens of the Republic of the Congo. The river forms the border between our country and Zaire for some 700 miles. We have always called it the Congo and do to this day. ROGER ISSOMBO CONGOLESE AMBASSADOR Washington, D. C. Because the articlewas writtenfrom the perspective of one travelingthroughZaire, reference to the river followed Zairianusage.