Daily Archives: June 27, 2004

Somewhat live, from Linea

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 “cĂ´tes 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)


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Live update, well sorta.

This email was sent by Linea June 21. She wrote:

We are back in the Congo.  It is a bit incredible!  No flights missed, no
luggage lost.  No hassles getting stuff through customs either here or in

Today we flew by small plane(SIL) from the Central African Rep. to  Gemena
in the Congo.  Part of our cases of dental supplies came today and the rest
will come tomorrow.  We received all of our luggage but other people
traveling with us lost all of their luggage en route.  Those of you praying
for us as we traveled – thank you – but don’t stop now.

This part of Africa has not made a lot of progress in the thirteen years
since we left – in some things.  In other things, the change is incredible!
My girls just got off the phone with Grace’s great aunt in Kinshasa.  No one
could ever just pick up a telephone and call back in the days!  And they
watched TV this afternoon powered by battery, received by satellite.

But there are more buildings abandoned, sometimes with visible evidence of
bullet or mortar fire.  And the roads are thirteen years worse.  Glass was
mostly gone at the airport.  But the people were still there to see the show
and we were it!

The smell of wood smoke is in the air tinged with the slight flavor of the
palm oil used for cooking.  And then there is the smell of the roasted corn
that lingers on my hands from our afternoon snack.  My hopes of loosing gobs
of weight on this trip are going fast.  But I like it here anyway.  The
senses are reawakening to Africa.  It is good to be here.  It is good of God
to have brought us here again.


(posted by Randall Friesen, for Linea.)


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