Researching a country like the DRC has really opened my eyes to the differences in the world’s ethnicities and cultures. The DRC has experienced many changes, some as recently as 2006, when the country adopted its latest constitution. The many different geographic locations and ethnic tribes, such as the Pygmies, have a somewhat big impact on the entire country. The poorest country in the world, the DRC was established as a colony of Belgium in 1908 and gained its independence in 1960. Basic Geography
About a fourth of the size of the US, the Congo shares a long border with the Republic of Congo, the Central African Republic, Sudan, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania, Zambia, and Angola. Nearly landlocked, the DRC depends on the Congo River for transportation and farming. The DRC is located along the coordinates 02 S, 23 E. Second only to the Amazon River, the Congo River is said to have enough hydroelectric power to light up every home in half of Africa. As Africa's third largest country, the Democratic Republic of the Congo is measured at a stunning total area of 905,356 square miles. Kinshasa is the capital and largest city in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Kinshasa is a vibrant and modern town of over 5 million people, located on the Congo River. Other cities include the southern diamond-mining center, Lubumbashi, river-oriented towns Kolwezi, Kisangani, Mbuji-Mayi, and Matadi, the country's primary seaport, located on the Atlantic Ocean. Mount Stanley, the country’s highest point, is 16, 762 feet tall, the 3rd highest in Africa, and the 26th highest in the world. Cultural Etiquette
A good topic of conversation is that which concerns you or your acquaintance's children; children are a major source of pride due to the idea that the more children a family has the more wealthy the family is believed to be. Traditional dinners will consist of a communal dish from which everyone eats. Try to eat with your right hand, as the DRC uses the left-hand rule. Edibles in the DRC, especially in villages, are very, very different from what you are accustomed to eating. Major Exports
Diamonds are the DRC’s major export, which is part of their very strong mining industry, which also produces, gold, copper, and cobalt. Wood products and crude oil are also some exports. Cash crops such as coffee, palm oil, rubber, cotton, sugar, tea, and cocoa also help the food industry, as many farms are located on the Congo River. Food crops, or foods kept for the Congolese to eat include cassava, plantains, maize, groundnuts, and rice.The main export partners for the DRC include China, the United States, Belgium, Finland, and it’s neighbor, Zambia.
Christianity is the majority religion in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, followed by about 90% of the population. Denominations include Roman Catholic being about 55% of the country and Protestant being 35% of the country. Muslim is about 5% of the country, and other religions including Hindu and many tribal and local religions are only about 4%, and Judaism is virtually non-existent, with only 1% of the population being Jewish. Daily Life and Games
At about 9:00 am in Kinshasa, the average Congolese will wake up and go out, usually without eating breakfast. When the do eat breakfast, it is usually a paste made up of crushed cassava seeds or rice, usually flavored with honey, called fufu (see far right). They will go to their place of work, usually a bazaar or a small fish or vegetable market, if they have a job, as over 40% do not. Then they proceed to do their chores and errands for the day, usually on foot. Then, after a days work, they will usually play a neighborhood game of soccer or backyard cricket. They use balls to play these games, usually made of milk cartons or wet socks. After that, they will most likely eat dinner, (note, no lunch) usually consisting of more fufu, with bananas or mushrooms or potatoes, and with a rich soup...