Blogs from Congo Democratic Republic, Africa - page 2

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Africa » Congo Democratic Republic » West » Kinshasa July 30th 2012

During our weekend on the road, we visited Kisantu and stayed overnight there Saturday night. The Sisters of Notre Dame went to Kisantu in 1900 and established schools -- pre-primary, elementary, secondary -- which have become very well known and respected in the Kisantu diocese. More than 1000 students attend these schools. There are also plans to build a college. Kisantu holds an important place in the history of the Congolese province of the SNDs. A poignant experience during our stay was a visit to the cemetery where several Belgian Sisters are buried. We prayerfully remembered the countless Belgian Sisters who came to Congo as missionaries and sowed the seeds of the present Congolese Province. While in Kisantu we walked a bit in the beautiful Botanical Garden, established in 1900 by a Jesuit Brother, Justin Gillet. ... read more
Kisantu
Kisantu
Kisantu

Africa » Congo Democratic Republic » West » Kinshasa July 30th 2012

Over the weekend we were on the road to Lemfu and Kisantu to visit the Sisters of Notre Dame and to see something of their ministries there. Kisantu is about 40km south of Kimwenza, our home base, and Lemfu is about 18km farther. Sister Marie Dominique, the education director for the Congo Province, was our guide. Gerard, our driver, navigated some very challenging roads to get us safely to our destinations. The SNDs have been at Lemfu since 1905. There are pre-primary, elementary and secondary schools there, as well as a hospital, including a maternity ward. The Lemfu mission is also one of the four sites in Congo for the photovoltaic project. We saw the inner workings of this project, which provides electricity and internet service to the whole compound. The Sisters also host a cyber-cafe ... read more
Lemfu
Lemfu
Lemfu

Africa » Congo Democratic Republic » West » Kinshasa July 29th 2012

In the liturgical calendar, this past Thursday was the feast of St. Ann. As we were coming into the dining room for supper, the Sister-students sang and presented me with a bouquet of flowers. I hope you enjoy the video snippets. They're a little choppy but they'll will give you the flavor of the "surprise."... read more

Africa » Congo Democratic Republic » West » Kinshasa July 26th 2012

Clean drinking water is a precious commodity that we take very much for granted in the U.S. In Congo, as in many African countries, the people have to work hard for it. Here in Kimwenza the Sisters of Notre Dame have an underground well. Rain water is also collected in large metal containers. After water is boiled in large pots, it is set aside until it has come to room temperature. Then the Sisters place it in a container with eleven filters. The boiled and filtered water then goes into bottles and is stored in the refrigerator. Whenever I am enjoying a glass of cold water on a hot afternoon, I try to remember with gratitude all the care that has gone into making it safe for us to drink.... read more
Water
Water

Africa » Congo Democratic Republic » West » Kinshasa July 26th 2012

In the last eight days, I have learned many new uses for the humble bucket. "Bucket List" has taken on a new meaning for me. In our house here at Kimwenza, we are blessed to have running water -- cold, but not hot. Down the hall from my room, there is a hot water heater with a faucet. So every night and every morning, I take my bucket there to fill it with hot water. We have showers (with cold water), but not bathtubs. So the bucket filled with a mixture of hot and cold water provides a daily bath/shower. I'm getting good at dousing myself from my bucket! It's also great for washing clothing and carrying it out to the clothesline. And for soaking tired feet -- it can't be beat. Of course, the bucket ... read more
The Bucket List
The Bucket List
The Bucket List

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Africa » Congo Democratic Republic » West » Kinshasa July 24th 2012

A few days ago we visited the farm that the Sisters have on the compound at Kimwenza. When Sister Claudine Dumbi was studying agriculture at the Jesuit college in Kimwenza, she needed to do a practicum. She requested some money from her community and bought 200 chickens. That was in 1999-2000. Twelve years later they now have 1500 chickens, 100 or so rabbits, a small flock of baby turkeys and lots of vegetables. The farm provides not only income for the Sisters but also jobs for local people.... read more
At the Farm
At the Farm
At the Farm

Africa » Congo Democratic Republic » West » Kinshasa July 23rd 2012

English is the language of choice these days. Today we asked the Sisters to try to speak English at meals, and we teachers will spread out and sit among them in the dining room. Meanwhile Maureen and I are each teaching two sections of English, and we meet each section twice a day. Maureen has the Cuvilly and Namur groups, and I have the Amiens and Ghent groups. We're working on verb tenses, pronouns, prepositions, new vocabulary and pronunciation. The Side by Side materials -- texts, workbooks, picture cards and CDs -- are excellent, and the students seem to be enjoying them. Today I gave my students a little written homework -- to write about themselves, their families and their interests. When I asked them to send it to me by email, they applauded! Here is ... read more

Africa » Congo Democratic Republic » West » Kinshasa July 22nd 2012

Communication is so important for an international religious congregation. The Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur live and work in 16 countries in Africa, Japan, Europe, North and South America and Europe. In the past it used to take up to two weeks for important communications from our generalate in Rome to reach the Congo. Now because of the Photovoltaic Project the Congolese Sisters have dependable electricity and internet access. In some of the more remote sections of the country, they share this capability with the people of the village in cybercafes. You can read all about this project on our congregational website. Just click on this link -- http://www.snddencongokin.org/photovoltaique.html. All of the Congolese Sisters in this summer program are taking a class in computer skills. They are learning First Class, a program which supports an ... read more
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Africa » Congo Democratic Republic » West » Kinshasa July 21st 2012

Today is Saturday, July 21. On Thursday evening, July 19, we all participated in a lovely ceremony in the chapel, with songs, readings, prayers and blessings appropriate for the opening a new program. Before we left the U.S. we (the PACE Team) had decided to divide the students into four groups named for towns in France and Belgium that are important to the history of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur -- Cuvilly, Amiens, Namur, Ghent. During the ceremony each Sister came forward when her name was called to receive a name tag bearing her group name. Maureen is teaching English to the Cuvilly and Namur groups. I have the Amiens and Ghent groups for English. Evelyn and Margaret are team teaching the computer and internet skills class to all four groups. Our classes began ... read more
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Africa » Congo Democratic Republic » West » Kinshasa July 20th 2012

A major staple of the Congolese diet is manioc. Yesterday many of the SNDs were working hard at peeling the outer bark off the manioc pieces. One of the most popular dishes made from manioc is fufu -- manioc that is soaked, dried in the sun, ground into flour, added to boiling water and whipped. The closest dish I could compare it to is polenta.... read more
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Photo 4
Photo 5




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