Story — DRC Travels Part 2

March 20, 2015Bishop Bahati, Bukavu, Cirunga Health Centre, Nigel Pearson, Story, Tim Goodacre

In our last blog we left Tim and Nigel happily driving through Uganda having visited Aru in Eastern DRC. Their next destination was Bukavu in the south.

This entailed travelling through Rwanda and then back across the border into DRC. Leaving Rwanda was not a problem but getting back into DRC proved more of a challenge. Tim takes up the story:

“We had a major, major problem as I didn’t have an appropriate visa. At previous crossings we had used the legitimate mechanism of having a temporary pass issued but this time, despite much negotiating and involvement of church leader Bahati, and 4 hours of patient waiting, I was unceremoniously escorted away from Nigel and our friends to be returned back to Rwanda.

This was much to the enjoyment of chuckling Congolese, also queuing for exit visas (back into DRC in their cases), who found the sight of an ageing Muzungu (expat) being ejected from Congo highly amusing!

Then, after less than half an hour, the Bishop’s son raced down the road and across the border once again to tell me that the situation had changed, that key phone calls to Kinshasa had been made and I was now to be allowed to enter.

There was a sharp run up hill with my suitcase on the head of a helpful assistant, the making of suitably ingratiating murmurings to the previously obstructive officials, and then, with much rejoicing, I was bundled into the waiting car and we drove off along Bukavu’s sole new tarmacked road to rest and refreshment at the Bishop’s house.

My first impressions of Bukavu town were that it was as bustling as any other African city despite the fact that there were far fewer commercial outlets than elsewhere and no traffic chaos, such as that in Kampala, as few people possess vehicles and the roads are atrocious. There is no street lighting, or even mains supply at night for most, but yet it has a beautiful lakeside setting – truly the ‘Swiss lake of Africa’.

My time in Bukavu was immensely blessed with experiences that more than rewarded me for the effort taken to make the visit.

It began with a morning trip up into the country to visit the rural health centre at Cirunga that Semiliki Trust has been supporting to build a new maternity block. There is a new building shell already standing, and roof in place. However, it is not fitted out at all with any furniture or equipment. The existing health facility is so decrepit and poorly resourced that it was evidently not being used by the majority of the populace.

New team for Cirunga on the construction site

Nigel had a good conversation with key staff who explained that much of the lack of development, relates to the limited government support for such rural facilities. There is much for the Semiliki Trust to consider in how best to maintain and develop this centre.

What was striking to me in this area was the truly remarkable work being undertaken by the church, both in the spiritual and social development of a vast population. There is a notable absence of many other aid projects or overseas contacts. Churches run many of the schools, health centres and social projects as there are few, if any, state-provided services. Indeed the Churches are officially recognised as service-providers. Everyone accesses these services, regardless of ethnicity, religious belief or affiliations.

This land-locked area of DRC suffers from numerous problems for development, not the least of which are the logistics required to create a supply line that stretches half way across the continent. This has inspired a strength of purpose and focus that would put many a western church to shame. It is often accompanied by a truly humbling attitude towards lack of resources, and unwillingness to adopt an aid-dependent culture that characterises so many other poor states that I have visited.

The work that Semiliki Trust can do to support such entrepreneurial people is immense.”

Share this

Related Stories

DRC Travels Part 3

Good news from Cirunga!

Maternity Construction

right

Cirunga Health Centre

Preventing Covid-19

Op kit arrives safely!

You did it!

Island Health Services

Speeding up operations!

Emergencies

The joy of reading

Semiliki Christmas Appeal 2018

Who needs building regs…..?

Semiliki — helping the most vulnerable every day

What’s going on in Congo?

Cutting the ribbon at St Matthieu!

Surgical kit flown out to St Matthieu

Half way there….!

Christmas gifts with a difference!

All set to start building at St Matthieu

Great River Race

left

St Matthieu Health Centre

right

Centre for Women and Children

Bukavu

Will it be ready for the opening ceremony….?

Welcoming Ande to Oxford

Self-support for sustainability

DRC Travels Part 1

Semiliki Conservation

St Matthieu Update

Journey with us up the Semiliki River!

Our dear friend Désiré

Training tomorrow’s nurses

What virus….?

Semiliki Turns 10!

Under the microscope

Women delivering safely

Improving living conditions at the Compassion Orphanage

Wavy lines

Ebola continues to take its toll

Lorry load of operating kit arrives safely in Congo

Putting the roof back on…….

Many mouths to feed…..

First incision……

Medical supervision: what to do about the cows…..?

Towards peace and reconciliation in Rutshuru

The daily chores

Getting best value for money in Boga

Music and medicine

right

Restoring dignity

right

Life at Olongba Health Centre

Keyboards for efficient health systems

Keeping teeth in order…

Building new inpatient block in Beni

A tutorial in brick making….

Recovering from conflict

Transforming Bukiringi

The sky’s the limit!

Orphanage Evacuates!

Moving On(line)

Film: Seeds of Hope

Crossing the Semiliki river!

Land for Orphans

New Mattresses

Visit in Goma

New Medical Books!

They did it!

How to build a floor

left

New Blog Launched!

Newsletter

Subscribe to receive our semi-regular email newsletter.

Menu