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Slow, Slow, Very Small Progress in Congo

Published: June 9, 2023




So, I am now able to get back to you all regarding efforts related to the climate-change holocaust in eastern Congo.

To recap: a hundred-year flood sent giant boulders down on the two villages of Kalake and Bushushu on May 5th. 458 bodies were recovered, but more than 4,500 people are buried under rocks. The only road into the two villages is blocked - permanently - there is no way to get earth-moving equipment there, even if there was the political will (there isn't), and the only way to get to the two villages now is by small boat on Lake Kivu.

Herman Chirihambali says there are around 7,000 people still there. No aid agency or NGO other than his own (Flourish Together) arrived for more than three weeks. The Red Cross then arrived, dropped off some food, and left. There is virtually no food there - whatever there is comes via the little boats. Children are still walking atop the rock tombs of their parents, siblings, other family members, and friends. The government makes an occasional noise about moving the folks, but from experience I can tell you this is never going to happen - people would starve to death first.

I am working with Congo Threads to raise money for a new orphanage in Minova (Herman's town). We already have land. We will, I hope, combine Herman's orphanages at Minova and Mukwidja (the latter was created when a crowded boat sank in Lake Kivu, killing more than 150, and leaving behind around 30 orphans, who he took in), and some of the Kalehe/Bushushu refugee children he will take in. Likely house about 100 kids. We have an architect, and have already raised more than $25,000 for it (the total will likely be around $50k, though we are not sure yet). If folks want to contribute bigger amounts for this, that would be great (say in $1,000 increments), but we are not seeking smaller donations for that project at this point. It will take 5-6 months of course, at least. But having the combined orphanage will make Herman's work much, much easier (it is 3 1/2 hours by motorcycle when it is dry to Mukwida or to Kalehe.)

Click here for Congo Threads.

However, . . .

Yesterday, a woman from Kalehe showed up with three six-year old boys - triplets -  Mechack Chikuru Lukuba, Shadrack Kito Lukuba,. Abdenegro Chiza  - in Minova. She had taken in the three when the parents were killed. She is now a widow, with 9 children of her own. She took a boat with the three kids on the three-hour journey to Minova. She apparently visited the offices of every NGO - I won't name them, as they are beyond shaming. - none would help her at all. Then she found out about Herman and Ishara House (pictures below), and pleaded with Herman to take in the three kids. Herman really doesn't have room...and he is doing it anyway.

So, each new kid costs $34/month. As Herman writes:  this includes all the fees, food, medical care, wages for mother houses and guard transport for the coordinator. (This last item is absolutely necessary - he could very easily be killed, and the constant threats are real.) It does not include school fees, which will be needed come September.

For this, we urgently need funds - as in now. If you can only afford $34, that would be great. If you can afford $34 a month, that would be even better. $5 is good, too! even if just to show you care.

Funds go through Congo Threads - If you decide to donate, do let me know (privately is fine), so I can keep track. And ask your friends! Share this post around.

You should all know that Herman is also a partner in Good4Good, our 501(c)(3) that covers the personal needs of social and community activists when needed. We have funded Herman and his wife for treatment of a particular parasite that invaded their brains causing excruciating headaches - it didn't cost much, once we diagnosed it, and both of them are fine. And anti-malarials. (Don’t get me started on that one!)

Meanwhile, thank you for keeping on.

from David Albert, Friendly Water for the World (6/8/2023)