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Editor’s Note: This blog, co-authored with actor and Raise Hope for Congo celebrity activist Ryan Gosling, originally appeared on Huffington Post.
On our second trip together to Africa last Thanksgiving, we decided to go to the place where the deadliest war in the world was occurring: the Congo. The entire time we were there, we traveled with an extraordinary Congolese guy named Fidel Bafilemba. His video profile is the first in a new video series being launched by the Enough Project, called “I Am Congo.”
Most of the stories we hear about Congo are of rape, conflict, and exploitation. Those stories are real and we saw plenty of evidence of them.
But that's not the whole story of Congo. Watching our friend Fidel's video profile helps expand the story of Congo beyond its pain, and highlights what Congolese people all over are doing to create a better future for their country.
Fidel symbolizes the complexities and potential of Congo. He was formerly a member of a militia, but now he is a human rights activist and community organizer. Hanging with him is like being with a walking, talking encyclopedia of knowledge of history, culture, politics, and people. He speaks 13 languages. In the midst of all the difficulties, Fidel is a snappy dresser, he loves pizza, and he is a devoted family man. He has a great talent for quips, and a quick smile. He also shows deep compassion, and amazing grace under pressure. Just like Congo.
One of our favorite features of this video is that we're not in it.
After you learn a little about Fidel, there are other profiles of courageous Congolese living their lives and standing up for what they believe in. We hope you'll take the time to watch these profiles and get to know Congo and its people a little better. Our time getting to know Congolese people deeply affected us, and we hope the same will be true for you.
Watch the new “I Am Congo” video series—because Congolese faces and voices are front and center in it.