24 Sep 2020

Bodeme visit part 6

My day’s plans are thrown out the window as I wait for Mandaba to pick me up so we can recover my passport from the DGM office in Gemena. We have been told that the man who confiscated it has returned to Gemena and he has assured us that the passport will be waiting for us. We wash our hands, have our temperature taken, and put on masks before entering the wooden building downtown where we are greeted by three men with no masks on in a small room. They hear our story impassively, show us to the waiting room and tell us to wait. We wait. I share a [...]

23 Sep 2020

Bodeme visit part 5

I have forgotten all about the immigration (DGM) man who had visited us at the chief’s house and haven’t thought of him at all until we see him on our way back to Gemena, standing on the side of the road, flagging us down and telling us to stop. Frito is ahead of us, flying down the road, while Toussaint follows behind, never too far, so he is with us when we are told that I must follow the DGM man to the chief’s house. Mandaba asks what the deal is and is told that we do not have permission to dig wells and therefore, my passport is to be [...]

23 Sep 2020

Bodeme visit part 4

Morning arrives much too quickly, the sun high and hot. Frito turns the eggs and onions we brought into a delicious breakfast, along with the left-over grubs from dinner, and hot coffee. Roasted peanuts round out the meal and my belly is happy and full once again. Our goal is to leave by noon, so we start putting more filters together, working as a team until the last are finished and we are ready to distribute. More training is done so that the headmasters and the head of the clinic know how to use the filters properly and we watch as they carry them away on the backs of bicycles [...]

22 Sep 2020

Bodeme visit part 3

We are sweaty and tired, but we have much to do, so we dive right in, putting water filters together for a clinic, two schools, and two churches. We manage to do the ones for the churches by the time two chickens are brought to us to choose from and it seems that both meet their fate that very day because Frito finds himself in the kitchen hut cooking them both, saving me from the task. We present a filter to the chief and it is set up in no time, providing all of us with clean water to drink and with which to cook. He is the best example [...]

21 Sep 2020

Bodeme visit part 2

We roll into the village of Bodeme after more than 5 hours of watching the road go from a regular sized road to almost a foot path. As the hours pass, I keep marveling at the change in the road and in the vegetation around us, with dark green leaves of all shapes and sizes intertwined by purple, yellow, orange, and red flowers. It is hot, so very hot, and I am glad for the breeze as we ride past huts and people on both sides of the road. I notice how everything looked rather poor when we started off, but the rate of poverty is getting desperately worse as [...]

19 Sep 2020

Bodeme visit part 1

We are supposed to leave at 7:30am, but end up pulling out at 9:30 or so, after packing up the three motorcycles to the hilt. Twenty four 25-gallon buckets, a small ice box with eggs, salt, oil, onions, and tomato paste, and two shipping crates full of camping gear, solar lights, seeds, water filters, two plates, a couple forks, one knife, one spoon, powdered milk, freeze dried coffee, sugar, and some almond butter packets for snacks, make it on to the back of two motorcycles, along with a mattress, two pairs of rubber boots, in case of rain, and the personal belongings of each of the drivers. Our bike holds [...]

13 Sep 2020

Clean water and light

She said this light has made all the difference for her kids to be able two study in their dark home. She is so incredibly beautiful, with her high cheekbones and bright eyes whenever she smiles. While not speaking much, I feel her keen attentiveness to the conversation happening around her as I ask her husband questions about their family’s experience as part of AFCA’s livelihood program. She is eager to show me the water filter and leads me to the mud hut she, her husband, and her nine children and grandchildren call home. It is swept clean, with small rooms divided by cloth panels, which she pushes [...]

11 Sep 2020

Making Pondu in Congo

The rain starts as soon as our breakfast of peanuts and scrambled eggs is over although we’ve been feeling it coming for a while, with the sounds of thunder in the distance, the sudden suffocating humidity followed by the fluttering of curtains (made from old patient gowns from the nearby hospital) as the wind blows hard. Through the wood and wire mesh windows, I see the palm trees bending a bit, giving deference to the wind and we know that rain is coming. We drink something that looks like coffee but tastes nothing like it and I pray that it contains caffeine as I am exhausted thanks to large rats [...]

8 Sep 2020

Zongo, DRC – Sept 3, 2020

I watch the three trunks be carefully lifted and placed into the back of a vehicle which is taking people and the luggage to Gemena. HAHAHAHAHA! Just joking! What I see is the desperate stuffing of overweight trunks into the smallest space imaginable, leaving as much room free as possible so that as many people as can be crammed into the vehicle can catch a ride. I hear and watch the slamming of the trunk and shudder as I think of the laptop, the lights, and water filters getting crushed. I don’t have much recourse, other than to ask the driver to be careful, as there is no way to [...]

1 Jun 2020

Bono’s Sermon

If you're wondering what I'm doing here, at a prayer breakfast, well, so am I. I'm certainly not here as a man of the cloth, unless that cloth is leather. It's certainly not because I'm a rock star. Which leaves one possible explanation: I'm here because I've got a messianic complex. Yes, it's true. And for anyone who knows me, it's hardly a revelation. Well, I'm the first to admit that there's something unnatural...something unseemly...about rock stars mounting the pulpit and preaching at presidents, and then disappearing to their villas in the south of France. Talk about a fish out of water. It was weird enough when Jesse Helms showed [...]

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