DRCongo: Zongo Falls Part 1


One important aspect of adopting a child from another country is to be well educated on the land and culture of their heritage. This will help you better answer questions your child will ask as they grow up. To help our clients better understand the country from which they are adopting, staff members visit important historical or popular attractions during trips abroad. Whether we attend a festival to celebrate a unique holiday or attend a local popular attraction, we accumulate knowledge to help us better understand the culture and assist our clients when we are asked about the country and customs of their adopted child.

On our last escort trip to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the escorts and staff took a day trip to Zongo Falls. During our drive to Zongo Falls it became evident that the terrain in Congo is wide ranging and beautiful. Congo’s landscape consists of tropical rain forests, flat lands, and mountain terraces. Our drive began from the capitol, Kinshasa and our destination was the Province of Bas. We drove through crowded city streets, which slowly gave way to open countryside. Our journey took us through far reaching, untamed lands, dotted with villages of brick and mud houses. Rolling hills with lush vegetation reminded us just how beautiful God‘s creation is before man interferes. We arrived at a fork in the road and stopped to stretch our legs and buy fruit being sold by local children. The children, barefoot and holding bananas, watched us with interest and quickly surrounded us hoping to do business. We piled back into our SUV and turned onto a dirt road.

This is where the ride really became interesting; the dirt road to Zongo Falls requires 4-wheel drive – nothing less. The road was sometimes only wide enough for one vehicle which lead me to wonder what would happen if another vehicle was heading in the other direction? Luckily we were the only vehicle on the dirt road, and there was not another car anywhere in sight. We spent the next two hours being jostled, swaying back and forth, and sometimes flying out of our seats and hitting our heads on the roof of the SUV. There were deep ruts in the road requiring the vehicle to come to a complete stop before proceeding forward. I realized very quickly that during the rainy season this road would be impassable, 4-wheel drive or not.

Finally reaching Zongo Falls our attention was immediately drawn to the beauty of the Inkisi River nestled in the jungle. Efforts are being made to turn this into a western style tourist spot. On the grounds you will find a row of cabins and a guest complex which includes a souvenir shop and restaurant. Patio areas with tables and chairs under canopies border the river just prior to the drop off of the Falls. Still most of this area is untouched and beautiful jungle.

We hired a guide who walked us out onto rocks that jut out of the river right into the center of the rushing water. We stepped carefully among rocks into the middle of the fast moving water. Many steps required we take the hand of the individual in front of us for balance; one misstep and you would fall into the river which would send you over the thundering falls just a few feet away. I asked our staff attorney if anyone had ever fallen in and she answered simply, “Yes and they died”. Enough said.

We continued stepping on rock formations that have been chiseled over time by the river. The guide took us closer and closer to the edge. Those of us brave enough ended the trek right at the very edge of the Falls! At the very edge, if you took one more step you would plummet over the cliff. Needless to say, I valued life enough to not want to peer over the edge to see the where the water went, beautiful or not.

Sonja Brown works as the International Program Director for MLJ Adoptionsā€™ programs in Burkina Faso, Democratic Republic of Congo, Haiti and Samoa. Sonja is also proud to work directly with our Individualized Country Program families who are adopting from countries where no adoption service providers currently operate.