The security situation in the Congo can be quite fluid at times. With various rebel groups such as M-23, Kony's child soldiers of the Lord's Resistance Army, or any other number of bad actors, life is tough in the Congo. The UN presence is pronounced and quite visible.
Virunga National Park and its rangers do an excellent job of taking care of you, and transporting you through the park. Its rangers are armed with AK-47s, and have my utmost respect - not because of the weapons they carry, but because of the risks they take to do the right thing and protect the park and its inhabitants.
To see children, growing up in one of the absolute poorest countries in the world, yet still be children, beaming with smiles and friendly waves, is enchanting. The roads were marred by potholes as big as ovens and lined with children walking to and from school, and villagers transporting goods going about their normal daily lives.