What, you ask, are those HandUp Congo ladies up to?!
Kinshasa is a city on the move and Lucy and I are buzzing right along with it as long as the traffic cooperates. While the building craze has brought tremendous improvements to many of the city streets, it hasn’t improved driver antics – maneuvering into oncoming traffic to get ahead, driving on the “sidewalks” to get past traffic stand stills, ignoring police commands . . . and the list goes on and on!
Our partnership with the Congo Protestant University (www.upcongo.org) continues to provide exciting revelations and initiatives. We shared lunch and ideas with a passionate young woman named Fatuma Ngongo, a theology doctoral student, who is committed to the empowerment of women, human rights and peace. She comes from Eastern Congo and has plenty to say on these topics, having recently written a book entitled “Women and Peace in Bukavu.” No doubt, we will be hearing more from her!
Building A Healthy Congo: Lucy and I took an all day trip to a city south of Kinshasa, Sona Bata, with the first group of university medical students who will be ready to start their internships in rural hospitals in 2013. The university’s requirement to complete the medical internships in Congo’s interior where medical care is so desperately needed, sets this program apart from all the other programs in Congo. One of the four hospitals targeted in this clinical rotation program is in Sona Bata. What an eye-opener! Here is a hospital with no running water, a rusted ambulance with a broken axle and enough electricity to run their version of an x-ray machine several times a week. As a sign of the students’ commitment to the rural training, they used their own student funds to purchase white wash, brushes, brooms and machetes to begin the process of preparing the hospital that will serve as their training ground. Yep, the students spent the afternoon sweeping, painting and cleaning. Oh, and don’t forget the music! Go Med Students!