Friday, June 8, 2012
Congo Journal 15
Greetings from Goma, Congo!
We arrived last night via Kigali, Rwanda. It is a 2-3 hour drive through beautiful mountain roads. With 10 million people in a very small country we were rarely, in fact never, on a lonely road yesterday! They use every bit of the land for living and farming, so we passed through tall hills full of terraced farmland up to the very tops!
Goma is located on the shores of Lake Kivu, so I enjoyed a peaceful early morning (thanks, jet lag!) along the water with some funny looking bird friends (Crown Cranes) before we head off to Rutshuru, a town about 2 hours from Goma. We’ll be meeting up with World Relief staff and local pastors and leaders over the next few days to hear about their efforts and desire to be agents of transformation in their communities.
Our host, Charles Franzen, Director of World Relief Congo, made a statement as we drove here yesterday that “Congo has been in a crisis state for the last thirty years.” There are numerous reasons for these that have overtaken this county and perpetuated a cycle of disempowerment in the infrastructure of Congo (no postal system, for example) and the individual lives of the Congolese people.
I was reminded of the significance of our individual choices and the potential positive and negative repercussions they may have on other people, and even the greater society. Author and journalist, Bryan Mealer, wrote these words in this book “All Things Must Fight to Live”, during his time reporting about the conflicts here in Congo in the late 1990s: “What mattered was what kind of prints you left behind in the red dirt.” This statement has added a very real context to the intentionality of our actions as I walk on the red dirt Mealer writes about.
As we start out today, and over the next four days, we’re going to be meeting up with the realities of Congo’s past and its present. I am confident that we are going to witness both negative and positive repercussions of past actions. I am equally confident that we will meet up with amazing people and initiatives that are working hard to leave footprints that won’t harm Congo’s future but will lead it back to a sustainable, fruitful and life-giving presence in our global community.
Internet may be spotty over the next few days, so we may not be able to post regularly.