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Published: November 30th 2011
After a couple of days in Goma we were offered to stay one more day and visit surrounded villages. To come out of the city and go deeper into the country was quite tense, stressful and a breathtaking event for us. We were driving on a bad but good for DR of the Congo road and in few hours we reached our goal – a village where originally has been a refugee camp just one year ago and rebels attacked and burnt it to the ground.
After a calm ride suddenly the energetic children began to run after our car when we entered a small village road and the driver was forced to put on the brakes again and again so kids would fall of the car. ‘Mzungu, mzungu… Give me food, give me money, please’. Some innocent and tiny children were standing frozen by the road and couldn’t believe their eyes… they were literally starring of surprise and hope; some were just sitting with an open hand palm without any strength to say a word; some were sitting with big bellies and small bodies at parents laps and crying; some were greeting us in a cute and polite way;
some parents were holding their infants and crying for the food.
It is horrible and hard to understand how many people in this village are suffering of extreme poverty, malnutrition and health problems. And the worst thing that you are realizing in this situation that you are a small human and one person cannot help all these people, in fact almost none. We believe that we have changed few people’s life in one or other way but there are a crowd of people in extreme need of help.
Families don’t have any home and living on the grass fields or lava rocks, they don’t know what they will eat today or if they will get a bite of food at all. The mother is carrying a sick infant on her back, other children are sitting around and she is pregnant again. They are trying to get many children since many infants and children die of malnutrition and all kind of sickness. You are seeing the wounds on the babies, older children and you realizing that they won’t survey if they won’t get emergence nutrition and health care. The tiny bodies are swollen, the skin and hair is abnormal
and the eyes are yellow, and full of hope. Literally in front of us few hundred people who are in the extreme poverty, malnutrition and serious health problems shape and asking for a same thing – help to survive this day. This is the life in old refugee camp and this we are seeing on the Western world news, and yes this really exists. We couldn’t believe how bad the situation is in this small village and unfortunately the situation is same around DR of the Congo.
We walked around the village with eyes full of tears but the children gave us the best gift ever – a big smile on their faces. In fact they were thinking that we came to help them but it is impossible to help everyone. We can ask ourselves what we would do in this kind of situation and without any doubts we think we would try to do same. These people have no choice, in this country there the laws, human rights, rules or norms don’t exist. Actually we needed few days to reflect over and over and deal with bad emotions what we have experienced in this small village outside Goma.
You don’t want to believe that the situation is so bad but this is a dark reality…
We think the main problem which have to be solved is decrease the number of birth because the population is growing incredibly fast and causing the malnutrition and/or health problems around the country. As well children and adults who are suffering of malnutrition at the moment, it isn’t enough to give food but it is so bad situation that they need a professional health care to survive as well. We have to do the changes not just for short term but for long term which means to give people land and cattle to survive. For example we know that some Western countries have opened few orphanages around Rwanda and bought a land and cattle to teach children how to provide own food and build a brighter future. But to fulfill these ideas are much harder and it would take time since DR of the Congo is in extreme poverty, undeveloped and huge country. Well it is possible to change some people lives in a short or long term. Right now the biggest percent of the population is under poverty line and trying
to survive through begging on the lava streets.
Imagine a life in extreme poverty but the dark reality is much worse than you have imagined. These things you have to experience by yourself to be able to understand fully the truth life in the East DR of the Congo. Yes, this horrible, extreme, heartbreaking and emotional experience but we promise that you’ll appreciate your own life at home, and won’t complain that you cannot afford to buy a new version of Iphone. How to do this:
If you would like to do the same as we have done, it is possible to stay and do some volunteering. To donate money for these children through an organization maybe is a good idea but just a small percent of your money is going to the kids. You can do a small change directly in this big country in Central Africa. If you are willing to go to DR of the Congo, volunteer and get a lifetime experience, you are more than welcome to contact Rev. Athanase Habimana who has 175 churches, many orphanages and helping people in the villages in this country. He would be more than happy
to get help with the situation in DR of the Congo. You can get a full board accommodation which means that you would pay just 5-10 dollars per day.
His contact details: firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com
We have stayed with him and his lovely family for few days, and we had a fantastic time. We highly reccommend not to pass Goma without to meet them. But please check and re-check the current safety situation on ground, it can change quickly. If you’ll contact them so let them know that you read Christopher and Diana’s blog on internet, and he’ll know what you mean.
For visa information and costs, it is in the blog about the volcano.. But the visa we got is a seven day one and if you hope to volunteer and stay longer more info may be needed.
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