We have been here for three full weeks now, but it feels like three months. Every day is an amazing adventure full of surprises and new experiences. Just to sum up a few that stuck with us: driving through Congo as a ‘mundele’ (Lingala for white (wo)man) feels like being the most famous person of the world (or an animal in the zoo, you decide 🙂 ), a paper with ‘justice Militaire’ on the front of the car makes it a lot easier to pass the police (legal or not (?), again you decide) and giving away T-shirts leaves you with double feelings: happiness for the people who received one and regret because you couldn’t give one to every kid. The difference between people asking for money or food and the curious people that are just excited to see us also strikes us every time.
There are also a few things that stay the same everyday: the smiles of the kids are as charming as the first day we arrived, our daily portion of eggs, bread, peanuts and tomato sauce is assured, and the evenings are filled with interesting and sometimes deep conversations and feelings of happiness, tiredness, amazingness and (in)competence.
At the start of week two, we welcomed friends and family: Lieve and Hyppo, the founders of Mama Lufuma, Dries and Hanne, the children of Lieve, Sofie, the girlfriend of Dries and Bene and Ella, the mother and sister of Lars. Besides helping with the operation of Mama Lufuma, they also came for a jungle trip to the native village of Hyppo, Dizi. We drove for three days while stopping in Lukula and Tshela to organize family planning for young girls. The part to Dizi was quite literally in the jungle: an average speed of about 10 km/h, mountains and valleys of sand on the road and regular car pushing became the decor for the day. We also enjoyed a football game against a local team, showed our African dancing skills and made a canoe trip on the Congo River.
After this lovely jungle trip, the concrete constructions at the source were ready for use, thanks to the (most of the time) hard working locals so it was time to start installing the pipes. Regular trips to ‘le satellite’, our favorite material store, and the Kin marché, the food store, made us familiar with the means of transport (mototaxi, Kewesiki or Toyota Yaris) and the busy streets of Matadi. By now, the pipes on the domain of Mama Lufuma are installed, the pump is in place and secured, and the reservoirs are placed on the roof.
We still have a busy schedule ahead, but we wouldn’t wanna miss one day of the coming weeks.
Till next time! Team Mama Lufuma