From Congo with Love
World renowned photographer Rankin, in collaboration with Oxfam, presents From Congo with Love, a body of work inspired by the untold compassion of ordinary people surviving ongoing conflict in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.
Some love testimonies from Rankin's subjects: Romantic love - Masumbuko Gustave, 36 I fell in love with my wife the first time I saw her. There was just something about her - the way she was talking, the way she was walking, her nose, and her ears. When I saw her I thought she was very, very beautiful. I can’t explain it. Some people may not think she is beautiful, but to me she is perfect. The first time I asked her to marry me she refused. She thought it was a joke. It’s a cultural thing in Congo: a woman always refuses the first time. But I kept asking and asking. I wrote her a letter to tell her that I loved her and asked her whether she loved me too. In my letter I said that I really needed an answer. She wrote back to tell me that she needed a man who would never beat her, a man to treat her well. She said that if I could be that man that her answer would be ‘yes’. Those words are something I will never forget. It’s difficult for us to keep our love letters because of the war. Love Lost - Charles, 51 When I met my children on the road they told me that my wife was having a heart attack. The gunfire was so close and so loud, she just collapsed. My neighbours helped me carry her on a stretcher; we kept running, carrying her on our shoulders, and all the time the fighting was building – the sound of gunfire getting louder and louder. After a while we had to stop for a rest and I saw that she was already gone. We dug a shallow grave and buried her there. I miss my wife very much. Mother’s Love - Furaha, 28 When the fighting started it was hard to carry anything other than the children. We have six children in our family. We had to hide in the bush for four days before we found our way here. At times, when the gunfire was close, the children got scared. We are all scared. We know places to hide where the children can cry without anyone finding us. There are some caves in between two mountains. It’s safer there because no one can hear them cry. Kindness of Strangers/Host families - Annie, 45 (Mother of host family) In the past when we have been displaced others helped us. Now I want to do the same for them. We have become great friends. We eat together – we share our food. We are farming together. We go to different churches - my family are Protestants and our friends are Jehovah’s Witnesses - but people are more important than their religions and it’s our duty to look after each other.