Hope for the Future: Reflections on Congo

Post a Comment » Written on March 22nd, 2013     
Filed under: Ground Update, News & Updates, Travel
Written by John Mitchell, project manager at World Vision US

Silvia and her daughter.

Last month, I had the privilege to travel to Gemena with two other World Vision staff to visit our new Area Development Program, Ledia. We toured the community, met with families of registered and sponsored children; I even had the wonderful experience of meeting my own sponsored child! We went to schools and medical clinics, water points, and churches to hear from the community about their lives.

But, the real treat that we experienced, was staying the night in a family’s home; spending the afternoon, night, and morning living the life that they lead. This helped me to see what life in the Congo is really like in a way that I never could in just a few minutes of a visit.

I was welcomed with joy and expectation by Silvia* and her daughters, as they gave me the royal tour of their home and yard. What amazed me the most was the amount of work she was doing. She was digging mud for bricks so that she could build an addition to her yard. The bricks were formed in a mold and set to dry in the sun. She had fruits and vegetables growing all around her yard, not to mention coffee and chocolate as well. She was breeding ducks, chicken, and guinea fowl, all of which scampered around her yard. Inside the house, they had found a place for me to sleep…but there was company! In all four corners of the room were nests with hens and ducks sitting on their eggs. Silvia was also maintaining a garden plot about half a mile away. We walked down there so I could view the plot. Along the way, we walked through neighbors’ homes and saw bricks being fired, bread being baked, and produce being processed and sold in the market. At the garden plot, Silvia was growing yams and cassava. As yams are one of the staples of my family’s diet, we picked some for our morning breakfast.

That night, with my bed and mosquito net all set up, I made a quick agreement with my fowl friends. If they didn’t bother me, I promised not to bother them! In the end, we all had a restful night. The next morning I shared a wonderful breakfast of fried yams and coffee and I was struck by the beautiful simplicity of sharing food. How generous Silvia was to open her home to me and how amazing it was for me to see the incredible hard work that she is doing. I know that she eagerly anticipates her children having sponsors. She hopes that the program can result in cleaner water that is more accessible. As I think of Hope Sundays happening in Covenant churches around the country, I also think of Silvia and the hard work that she is doing.

There is hope for the future, hope that tomorrow can be better than today, and I’m privileged to be a part of that. If you haven’t already, I would encourage you to sponsor…it really does make a difference.


*Name changed for protection.

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