Abeka is one of a cluster of villages on the western shore of Lake Tanganyika in the province of South Kivu in the Democratic Republic of Congo. This huge lake is 673 kms long and 1,470 metres deep, filling the base of the western branch of the Great Rift Valley which stretches from the Beqaa Valley in Lebanon to Mozambique in the south. Throughout the rift valley there are deposits of potentially valuable minerals. Unfortunately mining these is often controlled by militias and the local population rarely benefits. The areas with the most valuable minerals often suffer the most violence.

 Where we work 
Map of DRCMap of DRCMap of DRCMap of DRC

Abeka lies on the narrow platform of mostly fertile land between the lake shore and the steep escarpment which forms the side of the rift.


The villages on the shore, with their thatched houses, merge into one another except where the side of the escarpment reaches the edge of the lake. On the top of the escarpment is the Haut Plateau, where the climate is much cooler, the land suitable for cattle rather than agriculture, and the population are Banyamulenge. These are Tutsi people who immigrated from Rwanda, some in the 19th century and earlier and some in the 1960s and more recently. They have consistently been denied citizenship rights in the DRC (Zaire) and there has long been conflict between them and the Bembe living along the lake.


A rough, unpaved road links the villages to the small city of Uvira in the north and to Baraka in the south; with some of the bridges broken. Mining to the south has led to the road being somewhat improved, though suffering from the impact of heavy lorries. Public transport is rare. At times of heavy rainfall the road is cut by the rising level of Lake Tanganyika and then the only way to transport goods or get patients to hospital is by pirogue, a heavy wooden canoe.


Despite these challenges the area is very beautiful.

Abeka – the geographical setting


To give supporters of the Quaker Congo Partnership a picture of where their support is going, here is a short description of Abeka and  its surroundings.