What was the purpose of visiting Congo? Why all the crazy travel and excitement? Despite many days of travel to arrive to Gemena, DRCongo and then, the days of travel between sites, we got a lot done! Here are some examples of the things we did:

Picked up donations sent from USA for our Congo programs, including all sorts of instruments for a youth education project

Visited with two site supervisors to see how they are doing with their work and how the families under their care are faring. This falls under our Livelihood program: animals, gardens, lights, and water filters

Delivered seeds for three hundred families

Traveled to a remote project to conduct a needs assessment to determine if we will be doing more to help their nutrition standards and we received the request of a school roof, as their school fell during the heavy rains.

Met with a sewing and hair dressing project twice to help them think through the logistics of growth and business as mission

Visited grannies and their families who will be the recipients of our first team of volunteer’s work. We will be building a house, remodeling a house and setting up two latrines!

Worked with an engineer twice to set things in motion for our volunteers

Discussed finances, policies and reporting with staff

Tried to keep on top of email by visiting a friend with a satellite dish from time to time.

Worked on a big grant that is due today. Haven’t finished it yet because my laptop has decided not to work, foiling my plans to finish it during the long layovers in various airports. Must figure out how to finish it today!

And the list goes on…

None of this would have been possible without the help and hard work of Mandaba (who translated in and out of five languages and who drove me everywhere, keeping me safe), Bebe (cooked for us and kept my clothes clean while keeping me company), Matthieu (bookkeeper), Jérôme and Denase (site supervisors), Patrice (who let us sit in his living room, charging my laptop and phone while I furiously answered hundreds of emails and wrote the grant), Toussaint (driver and battery finder), and Richard (cooked for us in Tandala). Thank you to each of you!
Now, as the plane touches down into Johannesburg, South Africa, I am tired but happy. I already miss Congo, but am excited to meet a team of volunteers, including my family, in two days. Together, we’ll work at two homes for children, making memories and lending a practical hand. Keep your eyes open for updates!