Mangungu Repair Work, Part 2

Mangungu children carrying boards

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.

Part 2

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.

Mark with children at Matende

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!

Kikwit by the Kwilu River

Psalm 67
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

Mangungu Work, Part 1

Sandy roads leading to Mangungu

The following post is taken from a letter regarding recent repair activity at Mangungu. Four men made a trek there this summer. Part 1 of the letter from Clement (Bud) Kroeker follows:

July 12, 2017

Dear Friends,
First day in Mangungu. Our trip here took 5 hours with a one hour stop because of rain. Mangungu covers a vast area and the road coming in is barely visible among the tall grass and trees.

When we arrived in the evening, we were welcomed by a huge crowd of children singing and calling welcome. By then it was dark, but all the folks gathered for a big welcoming ceremony. The Pastor Mushifele Degaule had emptied his house to let us use it for our living quarters. But in the black of the night, inside and outside of the house, it’s very difficult to find anything at all. We just had to wait until the cock started crowing about 4:00 a.m. to have the light of day. People began strolling by to visit us at 5:00 a.m. and there was a constant gathering around our house all the time!

David, Bud, Nelson & Mark at Brussels Airport

Women cooked on an open fire outdoors in a tiny hut at the side of our house to provide us with meals. They cut the wood, boiled the water, and did everything from scratch. Down on the other side, the chickens walked around our court yard, looking for crumbs falling from our table or drinking the water from the basin on the ground where we washed our hands.

We started the day with a guided tour around the mission. The Pastor, our tour guide, explained each thing. The men who came with us from Matende were very astonished and touched to see the sad state of the buildings here. They didn’t realize it was so bad.

The Health Center is in ruins and can no longer even be called a Health Center. The Secondary School, which used to be a Bible Institute, has had a few tin roof panels stuck on, but the entire roof is open to the sky. The Church building consists of a few adobe bricks still standing that haven’t given in to the rain.

Finally we walked by the stone house we had come to rescue. After 60 years without a roof, the walls are still in better condition than all the other former buildings, at least they have fewer cracks in the walls. The folks here at Mangungu have emptied out all the trees and grass growing inside and around this stone house.

__________________

Join us next week for part 2 of their adventure. All repairs in Congo are an adventure in ingenuity.

Clement Kroeker’s website: http://congoopenheart.org/projects/

© 2017 Hope4Congo

Disrepair in Congo

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H4C_7
This old hospital building illustrates the disrepair at the former Ndjoko Punda mission station

This week Stan gives us special insight into some of the reasons things are in such disrepair in the Congo and the concern this represents.

“I’d like to explain why the Congolese don’t fix things—no one has the money to fix these things and the people with the skills to do so are dying off. The youth are not learning these skills. It’s one of the reasons we’re interested in providing AIMM vocational schools to teach these needed vocational skills. This is so important.

“The youth are more interested in earning quick money through diamond mining to get rich. One of the women in the church said, ‘Our youth are giving up food for diamonds.’

“This is very sad for their culture in the long run and desperately dangerous for the Congolese youth. Many die in their quest for diamonds. Their techniques and tools are primitive. The youth dig in river banks or they will dig a thirty foot deep pit with a three to twenty foot diameter opening. At the bottom of the pit they may tunnel sideways. Tie a rope around their waist and lower down into the hole. If they tunnel sideways the tunnel walls may collapse on them. They also drown while diving for diamonds.”

Thank you for helping us to understand the situation, Stan. Of course we know there are diamond mining companies that provide more advanced tools for their workers. That would be safer. However, the point is that the youth are going after a quick buck rather than developing a skill or a trade that would provide them with an income and be a service to their country.

This will be our last post for May. Starting June 2, 2015, we will only post the first and third Tuesdays of June, July, and August. Remember to Follow Us so you won’t miss anything.

For those children looking forward to the Crocodile Story, make sure you join us in June.

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©2015 Hope4Congo