This came in from Linea, Friday June 25.
Not quite a week has passed for us here in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. If you check a map of this part of the world, I am north of the Congo River, north of the equator, south of the border between Congo and the Central African Republic. About in the middle of that corner of the Congo at a town called Gemena.
I am staying in the home of Jacques Kongawi a doctor with the American Leprosy Mission. I am typing this on a azerty keyboard and that in itself is a challenge. This will be sent by SAT phone in few minutes.
Since arriving I have become reacquainted with many people. Tonight we went to the Catholic mission where an old friend Pere Marcel is living. He was like a grandfather to my children and so we spent time looking at photos together. He visited us once in Canada and has fond memories of that visit. The priests at this mission stayed throughout the war. As he said” What did we have to lose by staying. We had no families to worry about”. That made a big impression on the people here.
Next door to Jacques lives a man who has begun what is a fairly popular way to extract money from the poor. He has his own private brand of religion – pseudo Christian – and people bring him their earnings and produce. There are lots of these cults springing up. These false leaders seem to have no fear of God.
Today I had visitors from the CEUM – that is the local church of the Covenant variety; two women who want to see their daughters go on in their education. They have finished high school. Without funds that are sure- some sort of scholarship or bursary they will be faced with an impossible dream. Or be forced to obtain their marks by what is referred to as CST “côtes sexuallement transmis” or sexually transmitted marks. Not what any parent would wish for their daughter but a reality in this promiscuous society.
I hope to send some more reports by e-mail. I have no access to the internet and I am missing that. So are my girls – deprived of their MSN.
Greetings to all,
(Posted for Linea, by Randall Friesen)