Ministry Update June 2021Image of Democratic Republic of Congo flag

BY polisi.kivava | June 28, 2021 | min read

BY polisi.kivava|June 28, 2021

min read

Displaced by the Volcano

On Saturday 22 May 2021, the Nyiragongo Volcano, about 15 km North of Goma erupted and destroyed more than 200 houses, occasioning the death of 35 people, some caught by the lava, others in accidents and even some more by gas from the lava trying to cross. The eruption was followed by violent tremors of earthquakes, which damaged a lot of buildings. Fearing the risk of another explosion from the lava flowing underground, the governor issued an evacuation an evacuation order and people fled in different directions. While my son and some of the relatives took the road to Rutshuru, I was encouraged to move to Rwanda, where the CBM Africa Team leader prepared a house for my family and the CBM colleagues welcomed me warmly. One week later, people were allowed to return to their home and we were happy to find our house safe.

People on the Move

The evacuation order of the governor threw thousands of people on the road in different directions. Most people went westward to Sake on foot while others went southwards to Bukavu by boat, some more northwards to Rutshuru and some more eastwards to Rwanda.

Material Damages

More than 3000 houses are reported to have been consummated by the lava, including residential homes, schools, health facilities and business houses. Some more buildings were affected in the city centre following the earthquakes that followed the eruption.

The neighbor city of Gisenyi in Rwanda was also affected by the earthquakes. Together with CBM Africa Team Leader, I visited the premises of AEBR and saw how far buildings were damaged by the tremors.

Work with AEBR

During the time I spent in Rwanda, I had the opportunity to work with the partner – AEBR – and visit some of the CBM supported projects. First, I had a meeting with Bishop Emmanuel, and then with all project managers to exchange about the current situation of projects. I had also the opportunity to visit two projects: one is about peace building, whereby people join efforts to assist vulnerable people in the community without distinction of origin. One of them is the rehabilitation of a widow, survivor of the genocide. This project benefits from the support of the local government by providing for instance iron sheets when the group decides to build for someone who cannot afford it.

I visited also the proposed site of the new food security project. Some farmers I met express their concern about the low production of their fields and their eagerness to adopt the new farming techniques.

Food Security Projects in DR Congo

Prior to the trip to Rwanda, I visited two projects in Eastern Congo. In Muku, I went to follow up on the recommendations of the previous visit, to focus more on kitchen gardens. Also more efforts were put on improving small livestock, with the construction of modern cages for rabbits and guinea pigs as well as stores where farmers can keep their seeds for the next season

I visited also the new women and youth project in Uvira. The team has been set up and they started mobilizing beneficiaries. They have acquired a field that will serve as demonstration field and with the farmers, they started setting nurseries. The project is benefits from the experiences built from the previous food security project which was implemented in the same area. New beneficiaries include spontaneous adopters of the technologies taught in the previous project.

Relief Work by Partner Churches

The hot topic, at the moment, is the situation of vulnerability resulting from the eruption of the volcano in Goma and the earthquakes tremors that followed. CBM has two partners in Goma: CBCA and CEBCE. Both are working on joint relief actions to assist people affected by the volcanic eruption. On the other side, AEBR is trying also to assist people who were affected by the earthquakes. FEBAC, another CBM partner in South Sudan, is also busy with a food assistance project in a pandemic situation of hunger resulting from manmade and natural calamities. A request has also been filed in favour of pastors living in difficult conditions.

Rehabilitation of Rwanguba Hospital

I visited Rwanguba hospital two months ago. With the new CBM partner, the CEBCE, we are supporting the construction of the imagery building, which will host XRay and scanner services at Rwanguba hospital. Work is going on as planned, despite some interruptions caused by the volcanic eruption in Goma and the building might be ready by the end of next month.

Covid and CBM Work

The number of cases of Covid-19 has increased in the last two months. As a result, governments have taken new measures, which affect also the implementation of some projects. Rwanda and Uganda have taken measures of lockdown again. In Congo, even though the number of cases is high also in Kinshasa, the president decided to close only bars and pubs, while schools and churches continue to operate but with instruction to respect preventive measures. As a result, training activities and meetings will have to be postponed again, as well as field visits. It is comforting, however, that farmers, in the rural areas, will still be able to work on their farms.

Meetings and Workshops

The progress in technology has made it possible to attend more meetings than earlier with Zoom, Teams and WhatsApp. In addition to the Africa regional team retreat, I attended also one module on Market Place Ministry training and took part in the meetings of different commissions, namely the BAM international conference, BWA and CBM meetings of creation care, BWA and CBM meetings on relief and development, CBM gender working group, and meetings of partners’ development directors. I even attended meetings of other organizations such as the United Evangelical Mission on refugees and another one on exclusion and discrimination.

Perspectives for the Second Half of 2021

  • ACC&S Embu Food Security project launching and visit to Kenya.
  • AEBR Food Security project in Ngoma District: project review and launching.
  • Muku Food Security project: End of project evaluation and Situation Analysis for next project.
  • Visit to South Sudan as soon as possible.
  • Training workshop with AEBR leadership on leadership, Resource mobilization and management.
  • Reflection on Business initiatives with partners.
  • Exchange programs including development directors, church leaders, women leaders, youth leaders on different occasions.

Word of Appreciation

All these dreams are possible because there are people who carry mission work in their heart and support it financially and with prayers.

Concluding Remark

All the believers were together and had everything in common.

Acts 2:44

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