Since we, Jos and Wolfgang, arrived in Kinshasa 6 weeks ago, we had a chance to see many of our friends, made different plans and could achieve major progress in our project in spite of all the difficulties. We had a meeting with a representative from the SADR farm who gave us more insight into why they had so much trouble there. We already knew since a year that they had many problems with theft on the farm, about 30 % loss. That’s when they reduced their investments and let go of quite a few workers. In the meantime things got so bad, that they decided to close the farm. They removed all valuables, like the generator, internet installation, all furniture, kitchen equipment etc. and will still remove the last truck and container houses.
This was quite a shock for us and put us into a very desperate situation. Our challenge now is to find a way to get the infrastructure back to work at least minimally so we can operate there. As usual when the situation looks darkest and we get desperate, God brings a solution. Here are some of the steps which helped us to move forward:
We asked SADR if we can use the empty buildings on the farm and they gave us their OK. We are planning to convert some of the big farm houses into temporary class rooms until our own school building is finished. This enables us to start school as soon as we fabricate school benches and blackboards and all the children will be able to attend school in the morning instead of morning and afternoon as previously planned since we have now twice as much space as in our building.
Another big help came from one of our dear friends, whom we hadn’t seen for a long time. He gave us a nice new generator which will help us to have at least some electricity in the evening for lights and to recharge batteries and phones etc. Another friend donated a “pousse pousse”, a typical Congolese 2-wheel push-cart, so we can transport bricks, sand, gravel and other materials to the building site. Internet we hope to be able to receive via the only phone company which has some reception there.
SADR also gave us permission to use whatever land we want to plant crops on. Because the rainy season started we want to use 7 hectares of their land and in the next dry season clear our own land which is still complete wilderness and then plant things there as well. Since the school will be free of charge, we hope that we can generate some income from this agricultural project to cover part of the expenses in the future – help for self-help and sustainability! We bought maize, bean and peanut seeds and acacia seedlings for the borders of our territory. A friend gave us some moringa, jack fruit and bread fruit tree seedlings. Cassava and pineapples are available there. We are also bringing food from Kinshasa for the next 4 months for our team in Mushapo.
As we need beds, mattresses, pots and pans etc., all the furniture and materials we stored from our old house in Kinshasa come in handy now! And since we have to transport it all to the farm we decided to also get some needs for the children at the same time. They desperately need new shoes and clothes as theirs are very old and worn out. Besides all that, we bring the most important medicine and basic medical aid for the children.
Next question was how to get it there. On our last flight to Tshikapa we met Philippe who is overseeing a big construction project there. He offered to bring all our materials there and even bring it from there to Mushapo! That is a very big help as transport is so expensive and complicated, especially a thousand kilometers away into the bush. We loaded up a whole truck with our household items and the other materials we had organized so far.
Jean, the former foreman of the farm will now be working with us fulltime. He will leave for Mushapo in a few days to get the temporary school buildings ready so we can start school as soon as the benches and blackboards are done. Target day for the school-begin is 15.10.! He will also help us find good local teachers, continue to oversee the construction of our school building and prepare the 7 hectares of land for the planting of our crops. Jos plans to go to Tshikapa in one week and then Philippe’s company friends will bring him and the first load of materials to Mushapo. In 3 days Manuela will arrive in Kinshasa and will need some time to readjust to life in Congo. We will look for more supplies like school books, note books and other needs for the children and our team there.
In the meantime Lenka was busy in Prague to set up our new base there. With the help of her parents and brother and some workmen, she was working on the needed renovations. We want to prepare an extra room so we can receive visitors and friends who want to help us in our work. Anissa started to go to Kindergarten and is learning Czech.
As you can see we are busy on all fronts! In spite of many setbacks we learn not to give up and face all obstacles with a positive attitude of faith. We hope you enjoy todays “Vitamins of the Heart” along that line.
Greetings and all the best,
Wolfgang, Lenka, Jos, Manuela and Team