Thursday, February 01, 2007
going to congo
I have signed up to go on a Volunteers in Mission (VIM) trip to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The trip will be this summer between Aug 2-Aug 24. We will be travelling to the southern province of Katanga, the same province which just elected United Methodist Bishop Ntambo Nkulu Ntanda as a senator. The DRC has made incredible strides toward stability after years of civil war and strife. Bishop Ntanda has been instrumental in the peace efforts within Katanga. He, along with the rest of the Senate, is expected to be installed on Feb 3.
While we call these mission trips, really they are expensive Christian education trips for us. The hope is to build relationships, for us to realize the interconnectedness of all life, and then to become invested in one another's well being. I am a strong supporter of this kind of Christian education.
We are going to Kolwezi, which is WNW of Lubumbashi, and has a city population of about 450,000 people. While there our team will work in a hospital/clinic and do some construction work. It is our hope to also visit the orphanage Jamaa Letu in Lubumbashi - an orphanage that United Methodists in the Pacific Northwest helped to build with our sister annual conference.
On the way home we are stopping in Kenya to debrief and to go on a brief safari. It is my hope while I am there to see first-hand the good work that MERC is doing to preserve the culture of the Maasai people and for the environment.
As time draws nearer for the trip, I continue to read more and more about the politics of Central Africa, the DRC, the mineral ventures in Katanga, and about the incredible peoples of that area. I really don't know why we call this a mission trip, unless we really mean that it's a mission for those of us going over there!
I would love to hear from folks who have been to Congo and would love pointers to reading materials or packing helps that might be useful.
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