420 students came for our visit.
Our trip to Mushapo was most challenging but at the same time very inspiring. We only had 5 days as Mrs. Manig, the wife of the German ambassador, who is in charge of Micro Projects and has other responsibilities at the Embassy, didn’t have more time. But we are so thankful she took that time for this strenuous trip.
Thursday: When we arrived at the airport with our confirmed tickets we were told that there was no place on the 30 seat airplane. It took 2 hours and a real miracle, after many people were sent home, that we still got 2 seats in the last minute. Then, 20 min in the air the pilot announced technical problems – and we were on our way back to Kinshasa! After waiting an hour at the airport we were told to come back the next day.
Friday: This time we got safely to Tshikapa, but after landing in the small 20 seat plane, we found out that none of the suitcases came with the plane although we were told they were on board. That meant we only had the clothes on our backs and the hand luggage.
Stuck in the mud many times, once for two hours
Our friend Ahmed, the director of “Congo Futur”, had rented a jeep for the taxing road trip from Tshikapa to Mushapo and spent $ 1000 for the 3 day tour. Considering the terrible road condition, we felt the high price was justified as the car had to suffer a lot under those circumstances. Even with the 4×4 we were stuck in the mud many times, once for two hours (photo right). The 65 km took over 8 hours and when we finally arrived in Mushapo at 10 pm in the night, the children were still waiting for us and greeted us with screams of joy!
Mrs. Manig, Jean and school director Pierre visiting new classrooms
Saturday: In the morning 420 students were singing for us on the new school grounds with a lot of enthusiasm! One of the children and Pierre, our school director, gave heartfelt speeches, and after some more songs a group of children performed a skit. When Mrs. Manig gave them a new football, the children were overjoyed. We visited the classes in the new buildings, saw the old toilets (hole in a ground) and are so thankful that soon the school will have proper new toilets with water flushing, septic tanks and hand wash facilities. The water reservoir was already dug out and we saw where the future Health Center will be – all sponsored by the German Embassy.
Afterwards we met with the teachers (photo left) and then with our school committee: the two chiefs, school director, parent’s representative, responsible for the Health Center and Jean, our manager. Towards the end of the day we took extra time with Jean and Pierre to talk more about the future of the project.
Mrs. Manig and Jean in the pineapple field boardering our new school grounds.
Sunday: To make sure we get on the plane on Monday we returned to Tshikapa early and because – in answer to our prayers – it hadn’t rained in the last few days, the trip only took 4 hours. There we found out that our luggage still hadn’t arrived! Jean’s wife Elysée and her sister Sarah made us a delicious dinner and came over with baby Lenka.
Monday: Same story with the seats on the little plane – no free place! After a few hours of waiting and by another miracle we got on the late plane anyway and returned safely back to Kinshasa.
We are very thankful for Mrs. Manig and her courage to come all the way to Mushapo under these challenging circumstances and we thank the German Embassy for their tremendous help towards our project. It gives us hope that things in this country can change, no matter how difficult it may be, if we just don’t give up.