We’re glad you joined us today for Part 2 of the recent activity at Mangungu carried out by David, Bud, Nelson, and Mark. This letter was written by Clement (Bud) Kroeker. Read Part 1 of Bud’s letter at this link.
It was quite a challenge for David to organize the various crews of workers–the men from Matende as well as the volunteers from Mangungu. He gave responsibilities to some of the men who worked with him the past three trips and let them supervise the different construction sites. But he faced the problem of having too many volunteers, not enough tools, and not enough supervisors. So we decided to use one group to work on the stone house and another in the Health Center.
Three ladders (built on previous trips) came with us on the truck. Two others needed to be built plus the scaffolding. A crew of young men started digging the cistern for water. Another crew started digging a hole for the septic tank.
The shovels (made in China) that we had purchased in Kikwit were not sturdy enough and soon the handles were breaking one by one. But in true Congolese fashion, the men would quickly replace the handles with sturdy wooden branches or poles they cut down with their machetes to fit.
The electrical generator was installed under the huge mango tree and this was the wood-working shop. I found an old piece of concrete broken off of an ancient bath tub made by some missionary sixty years ago. This served as a chair for me. It became my director’s office. However, I didn’t spend much time there because bits of stone and concrete flew in every direction as the young men tried to straighten up the old walls and pour concrete on top of the door posts and windows to give added strength.
Nelson brought up sand from a spot near the river. It was very hard to drive down there with the truck in order to bring water. So we asked the children to each haul a quart of water on their heads when they come up in the morning. Gravel will probably have to be hauled up in the same way by the older fellows.
After the first day’s work we already saw the progress made: two huge holes dug, each around 6 feet in depth; half of the old tin roofing panels were taken off the Health Center and the walls were strengthened with concrete in the cracks, after putting in solid iron bars.
In the evening a parade passed by our house, everyone carried a board to take the entire stack of boards over to the school area where they would be protected. The big men each carried one board, the younger men each took one end of a board, and the children (sometimes as many as six under one board), carried it on their heads!
I had only a limited stock of Bibles with me on this trip, 50 in French and 50 in Kikongo — but I gave one copy to each pastor in the villages surrounding Mangungu. Everyone gathered under the mango tree for a meeting of gratitude, to sing and pray and express their thanks to God.
Our hearts were blessed to be able to live these moments of true worship and praise. If we didn’t accomplish anything else on this trip, it was worth the time and effort spent, just to have been in that meeting with others of God’s children!
May God be gracious to us, and bless us
and make his face shine upon us;
so that your ways may be known on earth,
your salvation among all nations.
May the peoples praise you, O God;
may all the peoples praise you.
May the nations be glad and sing for joy…
(verses 1 – 4)
With grateful hearts for your prayers for us in Congo,
Bud, Mark, David and Nelson
What a joy it is to see the Congolese teamwork to accomplish a goal for the common good. If you wish to know more about Clement (Bud) Kroeker’s work visit his website: http://congoopenheart.org/projects/
© 2017 Hope4Congo