Thursday, November 08, 2012

Congo Trip, part three -- Mungindu

Thanks for all of your kind comments on my Congo trip so far!

Today, I want to focus on the third place we visited, one that was new to me this trip—the health zone of Mungindu. The DR Congo is divided into health zones and Mungindu is located over 100 km away from Kikwit. Edgard has a seed association there, but hopes to partner with the health zone/hospital to create more associations, in the hopes of benefiting the area. If they can grow their own food and make money doing so, then the hope is that they can afford their medical care. (The sad thing is, if you can’t pay your bill, they hold you hostage in the hospital until someone (usually family members) come and pay it for you. There was a young girl there who’d given birth to a baby who’d died. Her husband abandoned her as a result and she’s been there for four months, because she can’t pay her $75US bill. If the hospital had a seed program, then they could at least send her out to work in the fields so that she could earn money to pay her bill.)

So, our trip to Mungindu took place on Sunday afternoon. And what was just over 100 km, took us four hours to complete! It was like driving in a sandy ditch all the way there. It was super bumpy and swervy and at least twice, we found ourselves airborne in the back of the truck! Thankfully, no one got hurt (although I had a very close call with one of the benches landing on the tip of my sandal-- just an inch away from my toes! Thankfully, God protected me from serious harm!)

When we arrived, the sun was setting and we were led to this huge old Belgium house with a large veranda that over looked this gorgeous valley. I could easily imagine the orginal owners completing the house and over looking this spectacular view and feeling like kings!

Mungindu held a few personal challenges for me (one of them being no running water, no toilet and an outhouse that consisted of a little hut with a hole in the ground and two two by fours on either side!) It also stormed pretty badly that night, so I was unable to go out and use the outhouse, but God helped me out (I was able to hold it until morning!) and He also kept us safe!

Then next day we toured the village, met with the hospital staff and got a tour of the medical facilities. Here are the photos I took:

This building was the maternity ward. It was hard not to be shocked by how primitive everything in the delivery room looked. I was just super happy that I wasn't suppose to be having a baby that day!

After our tour, we met up with Edgard, who was spending time with his association:

Because we had the long drive back and a meeting scheduled with Edgard later that afternoon, we left shortly before noon to drive home. This time, we carried an extra passenger:

They'd rigged a carrier for this chicken and attached him to the roof! I'm assuming he became someone's meal eventually and I forgot to inquire about how he faired on the ride home, but I wouldn't be surprised if he was deeply traumatized!

Thanks for looking!


Jen said...

I love these photos!! My nephew is actually in the dc--on a mission for our church for 2 it is fun to imagine what his living conditions are like! Sounds like a great trip!! Thanks for sharing!!

craftmates said...

Thanks for sharing. It is very interesting to learn about your wonderful trip. Looking forward to layouts on this.- Irma

Joseph Mangala said...

I can't found words to express my amazement and overwhelming joy when I discovered your blog. Mungindu is where i was born 50 years ago, and exactly in that maternity ward. You traveled from faraway to dig into my roots. These photos tell a whole story of my early childhood.Even I time has destroyed that place, my memories are still alive and intact: I can still see myself as those little kids playing with friends at "camp munganga" (camp for nurses), living in a similar colonial house with a big veranda.
I would like to be in touch with you, and expect to see the whole collection of photos of my birth place.
Joseph Mangala, NC, USA.