Psychiatric hospitals in DRC, Burundi and Rwanda.
The smell inside any psychiatric hospital is penetrating; it sticks to the clothes, permeates the skin, gets right inside you.
The smell is a mixture of faeces and fear and it will not wash off.
When the smell comes from a psychiatric hospital in the African Great Lakes region, it is even worse, heightened by the stories of brutality that lie behind the inmates’ slavering mouths and tortured eyes.
This is the stench of the flesh of the 800,000 Tutsis hacked and bludgeoned to death by their neighbours at the rate of 8 000 a day during the Rwandan genocide of 1994. Mixed in with it is the smell of the 300 000 people killed in Burundi since 1993, the year the civil war started. And the stench of the more than 3 million dead from disease or starvation during the 1998-2003 war in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the former Zaire.
It is the smell of insanity brought by war.
by Jose Cendon