Every morning, I listen to NPR. That's the only way to get news and noise in the morning (I live without cable). But they do have really fascinating stories.
All this week they're following a reporter's journey through the Congo. This country is the size of western Europe but barely has a system of drivable roads. Most people live without basic plumbing and electricity. The Poisonwood Bible took place in the Congo so I feel like I know a bit about the area.... But things seem not to have changed in the least since the 1960s, when the novel took place.
Most travel throughout the region must be done by river, via the Congo. In the report, they travel ten days to get to their destination, the capital, Kinshasa. Can you imagine ten days to get to your destination?! Or, can you imagine a place and time when travel, because of this, is rare and almost never happens? Travel has been hazardous throughout history but the Congo is happening now. Rebel raids are frequent, famine and disease are constant, government corruption is debilitating....
See the pictures on NPR here. You won't believe it.