Monday, March 08, 2010

My trip to Congo, day 4

We got up early to go to the airport to fly to Kikwit, a city of 600 000, south west of Kinshasa, where the BTEDE office is located. We couldn't take pictures at the airport, but could discreetly from the airplane, so here's a picture of a plane just like the one we flew in, taken from my plane. They had two seats side by side, with maybe eight rows, an aisle and then one seat. Definitely the smallest aircraft I've ever flown in.

A self-portrait on the plane.

Some shots from the air of Kinshasa, the Congo river and then of a smaller Congolese village.

We arrived safely in Kikwit. Our mode of travel-- riding in the back of a half-ton. They put some boards across and fit a few lawn chairs in there. We'd hold on to the re-bar and away we'd go!

Meeting Edgard's wife.

Some photos taken in Kikwit:

The BTEDE office.

Some sewing machines at BTEDE. You might remember that I had a fundraiser several years ago to raise money for these. They have a micro-loan program at BTEDE where women can come and learn how to sew, take the machines home with them and then pay for them as they earn money sewing. I love this program-- it definitely makes the machines more accessible for the women. They're down to five machines and need more, so I'm thinking of organizing another fundraiser for these in Spring.

Maman Brigitte and Dadoo, making lunch in the kitchen of BTEDE.

Our first meal in Kikwit: rice & chicken (we always ate meat, but this is a luxury for the Congolese who usually eat meat maybe three times a month), beans, cooked greens (these were called "macaroni"), and "fou fou"-- a staple of the Congolese diet which is basically a play-dough like dough made from cassava roots, ground into flour, mixed with corn flour. The Congolese roll it into little balls and dip it in hot sauce and swallow it down, without chewing. It doesn't have very much nutritional value, but it's filling. (By the way, it's not tasty, either.)

Thanks for looking!


Liz said...

wow... what an adventure! I love what you and your church are doing to help this community. The micro-loan program for the sewing machines is such a wonderful resource for the women, I'm sure. Thanks so much for sharing the stories and pictures with us. I'm looking forward to seeing more!

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Renee Lamb said...

Oh how cool Leigh! I really enjoy your pictures! What a beautiful thing y'all are doing!

Heather M. said...

How neat to see those sewing machines that you raised money for! It sounds like a really great program for women. I'm enjoying your photos and stories. :)

Anonymous said...

Let me know when you do that fundraiser again, I think it's a wonderful program and love knowing exactly where my donation would be going.