Dem Rep of Congo: Congo River – Massive Barges

Congo River is the main road of this vast Central African country, navigable for over 2000 km east to west and back. Massive barges, almost like floating cities, make these insane month-long journeys from Kinshasa to Kisangani. The barges are pushed by small tugboats, almost always overloaded with people and cargo way beyond any safety limits, with up to 1,000 bodies on a single conglomerate of floating vessels, covered with tarp and cloth. The journey upriver costs around $40-80, and there is no first class here (in fact, there is not second or third class either). People travel in squalid conditions, without any toilets, and everybody bringing and cooking their own food over charcoal right here on the barge, washing themselves, dishes, little babies, and going to toilet side by side and next to each other! For a month! The barges and tied together with boats and other large floating frames – all propelled by an archaic colonial-times tugboats. And in country almost completely lacking any infrastructure, there is no alternative to this – roads are non-existent, rail long non-functioning, and air safety is the worst in the world and out of reach for most. This is Congo!