NANPA Oral History Project -
Date of Interview: January 18, 2004
Track 9: (5:00 min.)
SN: That would have been a great tip.
EB: I didn't have any rock tapes. Anyway, we said goodbye to him and did tip him and thank him and got on out of there and got to the plane back in, I don't know, Kivu [Bukavu]. That place was in a shambles. They shot up the post office and they built a fire in the lobby of the post office and we got the hell out of there.
SN: Were these conditions that you had known about, or no one had told you so you were totally unprepared?
EB: Well, yeah, I was myself. I was kind of na´ve and dumb. [To Peggy] We didn't know about it, did we?
PB: I didn't know about it.
EB: Nobody did.
PB: It was more dangerous than the gorillas.
SN: For the record, could you spell the name of the sanctuary?
EB: I'll write it for you and then you can see it better [takes paper and writes it down].
SN: Kahuzi. Ka-hoo-zee?
SN: Biega, okay. National park.
EB: That's in eastern Zaire, in the mountains.
SN: Do you know whether the situation has changed, whether it's different?
EB: From what I read in the conservation reports, it's still there and all that and they've got a staff of these guys working there, but they never see any gorillas. They do know that a lot of poaching has gone on in those years. You know, poaching for food and for other stuff.
EB: And also the elephants are getting in their crops. It's a kind of a pretty green place, real lush.
SN: I could see where you'd say that's your hairiest experience.
EB: I think that was it. [To Peggy] Do you think it was?
PB: Well, on the ground.
PB: Let's not talk about airplanes.
EB: No, we won't talk about airplanes.
SN: One of the questions that I have may not specifically refer to you, but it has to do with if you did any of your photography during wartime and whether it would be easier or harder to get equipment and supplies. Did you get to other places around the world that had had wars and you came in right after that? Was there any situation like that?
EB: You know, it's harder carrying your equipment around in the United States today getting from Chicago to, say, Orlando. No, I can't [think of any], can you [to Peggy]?
SN: Have you had any experience talking to school children, going into classrooms and telling them about your work and about photography, about you?
EB: I haven't done very much of that. I'm not really a personable one that would be good at giving lectures and things. Peggy would be very good at it.
PB: You haven't talked so much in years, as right now [laughs].
SN: Not on the speaking circuit yet?
SN: Okay. What we talked about so far constituted my core questions, but I'm sure that you have some other points that you'd like to talk about that I haven't covered in these 14 questions.