LUKUTU, DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO MARCH 21: An unidentified woman looks out on the Congo River as the sun sets on March 21, 2006 in Lukutu, Congo, DRC. She is one of about five hundred people traveling on a boat from Kisangani to Kinshasa, a journey of about 1750 kilometers. The boat stopped in the village for about a week. Lukutu, located along the Congo River, is a small village with a palm oil factory and an economy of agriculture and fishing. Congo River is a lifeline for millions of people, who depend on it for transport and trade. During the Mobuto era, big boats run by the state company ONATRA dominated the traffic on the river. These boats had cabins and restaurants etc. All the boats are now private and are mainly barges that transport goods. The crews sell tickets to passengers who travel in very bad conditions, mixing passengers with animals, goods and only about two toilets for five hundred passengers. The conditions on the boats often resemble conditions in a refugee camp. Congo is planning to hold general elections by July 2006, the first democratic elections in forty years.
(Photo by Per-Anders Pettersson)
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