Adolphine’s Story

Post a Comment » Written on November 29th, 2012     
Filed under: Hope Sunday, Missionary Update, News & Updates
Written by Christine Buettgen, short-term missionary in Democratic Repulic of Congo

Christine at the office working on her blog post.

Yesterday I went with one of the World Vision community volunteers, Karl, to meet a child that he helped to register for international sponsorship. Both Karl and I live in a neighborhood called Bokonzo, so he agreed that we could meet a child in that same neighborhood so we wouldn’t have to walk all the way across town. As we headed out in the blazing Congo sun, I asked if we would be walking very far. He assured me it would be a short walk.

One hour later, sweat dripping off my nose, my feet wet and muddy from trekking through the river, I realized that my own neighborhood extended far beyond my previous perception. It was fun to walk with Karl – kids would run out to the road to greet him, and he embraced them with joy and love. I asked who the kids were, and he said he had met most of them through the process of registering children for the World Vision sponsorship program. It’s not always common to see men be kind and playful with children in this culture, so I could see this was another benefit of World Vision’s sensitization for these young leaders.

A lot of time and energy has been invested in training these community volunteers. They not only have a big work to do in registering thousands of children to be sponsored, but they are learning how to take ownership of their community, to know them well, and to value even the poorest.

Congo struggles with a culture of classism, where the wealthier look down on the poorer, and a sense of hierarchy is seen everywhere from families to businesses to churches. These young community volunteers are encouraged to build relationships with even the least of these, and value them as neighbors and friends.

Adolphine’s house.

With Karl we met Adolphine (name changed to protect identity) who is a World Vision kid, although she has not yet been matched with a sponsor. She is sweet and timid, and was shy to speak with me, a white, strange looking foreigner, but was quick to jump on Karl’s back, squealing with laughter. Her parents say that she is well-behaved and helps around the house as she is asked. They told us that the only time she misbehaves is when she comes home from school and there is no food to eat. I think all of us would be angry if we walked 3 kilometers in the midday sun after completing a day at school and we had had nothing to eat since the night before.

Adolphine lives next door to her cousins. 15 family members live in one house and 12 in the other. All three homes are mud structures with three small rooms inside each. Every family member sleeps on the dirt floor; there are no beds to be found.

Last year Adolphine lost one of her cousins to malaria and the other died as an newborn. They weren’t sure of the cause of the newborn’s death because they couldn’t pay hospital fees to determine the problem. Another of her cousins is visibly sick and malnourished. We asked what the problem was with her cousin, and it was explained that they simply have too many children (11) and cannot afford to feed them all with their meager garden and no opportunity for other work.

When I asked Karl what he thought of the visit, he said he was hopeful for Adolphine’s future. Her parents value education and are doing everything in their power to make sure all of their children attend school.

Please consider Adolphine and her family as you pray about sponsoring a child.

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