MONUSCO REALITES #32 featured one of the best stories we ever had a chance to cover. The American Embassy had brought over choreographer Carmen Nicole Smith from New York to work with the Congolese National Ballet, which had not had a performance in years. The result was a ballet titled DANCING FOR RESPECT, with the premiere on International Women's Day. The rehearsals were a classic example of a positive collaboration, and the show was a great hit for the Congolese audience. It was also a big hit for us, and one of the last MONUSCO REALITES programs we were able to do before we had to change formats to ONU NEWS after our new PID boss made it impossible for us to pay our star Congolese reporter, Horeb Bulembo..
We needed him, since we had been unable to find any other remotely qualified (or reliable !) Congolese reporters. In short, without him, MONUSCO REALITES was doomed. The Director was completely unsupportive, doubtless payback for another dispute in which I refused to hire the very unqualified brother of one of his girlfriends - but I could not forgive him for destroying our signature program. We continued to try to do feature stories without reporters, and directors Alan Brain and Meriton Ahmeti did some amazing things, most notably Alan's series on Kinshasa's Witch Children, which was probably the best series we ever did. In MONUSCO REALITES #32, Meriton covered the production of DANCING FOR RESPECT for International Women's Day in 2010.. The US State Department brought over choreographer Carmen Nicole Smith from New York's Battery Dance Company, to work with the Congolese National Ballet. Together they put together the first ballet performed in Kinshasa in over a decade, and the positive response was overwhelming. Whoever was responsible in State for bringing over artists like Nicole deserves much credit - a great program!