Sunday, October 23, 2011
The Humanitarian Couple now have about 20 clean water wells and latrine projects going on around Kinshasa. The latrines are either associated with schools or hospitals. Each project has an engineer and at least 2 site monitors. It is these people's job to keep the work moving forward and being done correctly. The Binghams, the Humanitarian couple, must tour each site frequently to assure the above. Whenever we have free time, we love going with them. This Saturday, we went to a site that has a wonderful spring coming out of a rock cropping. Their project is to build a covered collection point with water gathering stations that will keep the water cleaner and provide a better method for capturing the water. We took an interesting walk down into the village. We drove as far as possible, the made our way down the canyon of uck, to reach the bottom where the village and spring is located.
Sunday, October 16, 2011
Here are some great pictures of African sunset across the Congo River. The sun sets regularly at 6pm. This sunset followed a heavy rain storm. The picture was taken out of our kitchen window, looking across the Congo River into Brazzaville, in the Republic of Congo. We have a 6pm curfew. I know we are too old for curfew, but the sun sets at 6pm and it gets absolutely dark. 1) the mosquitoes come out mean and hungry. 2) it is not really safe to be on the streets after dark. So, we get home by 6 and watch beautiful sunsets.
Saturday, October 8, 2011
We always have a good day when we team up with the Binghams - the humanitarian couple. Since they arrived in Kinshasa, about a month before we did, they have started several really good projects. The Hospital well that we showed earlier, was their project, start to finish. They found and have started several well project and sanitary projects in the small villages in and around Kinshasa. Today, Saturday, we took off with them into the bush. We saw incredible scenery, met interesting people, and learned some new things. The village to which we were traveling was at the end a very narrow, very windy road. On the way down the road, we came upon children carrying water on their heads from the little stream back to their homes - about 1/2 mile. The water is not clean. This is why the clean water projects are so awesome.
We came upon a group of children - sent by their parents - gathering water at a small dip well. The girl would drop the bucket down the shallow well, come up with water, then pour it into the adjacent containers, which the children would put on their heads and carry home.Then we went to another village to check on the progress of the bathroom (nice latrine) that the Church was building next to a school. This school had no bathroom facilities for its students. After this we went to see two wells that were being dug. First we saw where they were making the rings of concrete that form the sides of the wells. In an earlier blog, I mentioned that they make these rings, then as the men are digging the wells, they dig down three meters and drop these rings into the hole, then dig the next three feet and drop the next ring into the hole, and so on until they are deep enough to find fresh water. They had completed the digging of one well, down about 35 meters. We could look down and could see the fresh water below. They would then build a cover, a water gathering area, a concrete area for washing area. Then a hand pump would be installed. The next well we visited, the men were still digging. They were down about 20 feet. As they dig out the hole, the concrete pipes are lowered down. One set of pictures show a well where one man is down in the hole digging and filling a bucket. The men at the top, haul the bucket up by a rope and dump it, then send it back down. When we pulled up to the work sites, the workers started signing work songs, and seemed to work harder.
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
Bonjour du Congo We are very excited here in the DR Congo. As you probably know, President Monson announced that there would be two new temples in Africa and one in Paris. We Francophones are very excited about that. Our dear friends and fellow Greshamites who serve in Durban are also very excited about the temple in Durban. We listen to General Conference via the internet. However, the internet is very slow here, and sometimes intermittent. So, we were hearing about every other paragraph. But, we had connection when President Monson announced the Temples. We were beside ourselves. Then, the emails and Skype started from our friends and family, who were also excited. Most people here do not listen or watch conference. 1. it is in English, 2. few had electricity, 3. no one has internet at home. The Church sends a translated CD to the stakes, and they have conference weekend a few weeks after conference. So we started calling our friends. We called one of our friends, who started to cry and then shout for joy. We could hear noise in the background, he said that the church employees were having a meeting when everyone's cell phones started to ring. They were getting calls from those who had been listening or watching - mostly they were missionary couples calling. So, it was a great day (actually evening here) in Kinshasa. Currently those wishing to go to the temple must travel to South Africa. This is very expensive, and complicated to obtain passports, visas, etc. The church has a "patrons assistance program," (President Monson mentioned it during the announcement) which provides financial assistance for one trip to the temple for a family. So, most people only get to the temple once in their lives. We have several friends who have made the trip to Johannesburg to the temple recently. It is really difficult on them financially. Our friend Mardo, the sec. to the Institutes and Seminaries will go with her husband and two children this month - they have saved for several years. Rusell, our friend and associate manager of Employment, will take his wife and two children to J'burg later this month also - they have been saving for two or three years to make the trip. Now, they will be able to go frequently to the Kinshasa Temple. It will take two or three years to complete the Temple. We do not know the exact location for the temple yet, but will know soon. It will certainly be built in the center part of Kinshasa. It will serve the DR Congo, Republic of Congo-Brazzaville, Cameroon, Burundi, Gabon, Central African Republic, and probably other Francophone countries. There are 5 stakes in Kinshasa, 1 in Congo-Brazzaville, 4 in the other mission area of Lubumbashi, soon to be one in Cameroon, and probably one or two more in Kinshasa by the time the Temple is built. Cameroon and Burundi have districts. Gabon and Central African Republic does not yet have a church presence. Gabon has many people waiting for government approval for the church to operate there - probably before the temple is complete. This is my opinion only that with the Temple coming to DR Congo that the Church will then establish an Missionary Training Center here. Currently missionaries who will serve in on of the two Congo Missions, go to Ghana for the MTC because Ghana has a Temple. It is very expensive and difficult for missionaries who are from the DRC to get visa and passorts and to travel to Ghana. Of the 300 plus missionaries serving in the Congo, 95% are from the Congo. Most missionaries from Kinshasa area go to the Lubumbashi mission and the Lubumbashi missionaries come to Kinshasa mission. As I have said before, they do not send white missionaries to serve in the countries of DR Congo and Burundi. There a a few white missionaries in Point Noire in the Republic of Congo, but none in other Republic of Congo cities. (get out your map if you are completely confused.) So, my take is that they will put a Missionary Training Center next to the new Temple along with patron housing, like they have in Ghana and South Africa. All in all it is very exciting. The temple is coming not only because of the number of members, but they are spiritually prepared for the Temple. Now, there is a renewed excitement to really prepare for going to the Temple. Family history work will take on a greater sense of urgency We feel very blessed to be here at this time.