Hope. What is the definition of hope? How do the people of Bukavu keep their hopes alive? And how do we, as sponsors, friends, and prayer partners, give enough of ourselves to keep that hope alive? Read below to hear directly from Bintu on the issues that the people of Bukavu and our friends at the center are facing and living day-to-day. Know that what you give with your prayers, time, and money does make a difference. We, as sponsors, must continue to do our part to help keep that hope alive. –Sara Johnson
–Our future hope is here, in the faces of our children.
Hope when everything you see says,
“Don’t get your hopes up!”
Bukavu and the entire DRC have been going through a lot of turmoil and all kinds of calamities that have brought discouragement and have gotten our hopes down for decades. For all this time, it’s like we have always been waiting expectantly to hear worse news than what we already hear from our home city: Nothing clear on the horizon. Complete darkness.
How can you risk beginning anything new in a place where there is no competent infrastructure working? There is nothing that encourages you to build or invest for the future here. Nothing. That is why young people are fleeing the country. That is why many people are not even trying. They stay in complete numbness and without vision.
The picture of our present Bukavu is of complete darkness. From a bad economy to corruption, from anarchic building to bad roads. (By the way, I had already returned to Bukavu when I saw tractors, one day, purposely destroying the road in front of our center—that was about 3 years ago. Albert, our administrator, went to talk to the tractor driver and he said they were destroying to rebuild a new road. Two governors have come and gone since that happened. And now the road is in even worse condition than before! It was never rebuilt.) Many taxis and other vehicles for public transportation do not come to our streets any more. Cars suffer much damage on this side of Bukavu so drivers don’t come here anymore.
For many things I see, it just goes from bad to worse!
The population in Bukavu seems to increase every single day as if someone were making humans and multiplying them somewhere near. Streets are crowded with so many people that you can no longer enjoy a quiet walk in the main streets of Bukavu anymore. In the same way, houses are growing from everywhere. We have no idea who is building them, and no regulations are being followed at all! Nice property is being sold to people who have no idea of the proper way to build. Most of the time, the buyers resell to tens of people, and a piece of land intended for one house ends up with ten buildings.
Thus, the problem to continuously distribute electricity and running water to all at the same time fails because the facilities were intended for a tenth of the current population. And despite the taxes paid for electricity and water, some households are still paying monthly. There is no option to upgrade the facilities and no one knows why.
At the same time, technology is growing so widely. Canal + (a TV channel provider) is gaining new subscribers every day. Some people do not have a house to shelter in but have a Dish on top of their “pretend” roof. Families gather around a screen showing nice houses while sitting on the floor—but they don’t care—they are just trying to survive!
Almost every teenager has a smart phone with lots of virtual friends to chat with. They spend their money on megabytes provided by phone companies, but most of them do not have food on their table more than once a day. They have begun copying dressing styles and other behaviors that they see on shows and in the media. But they still walk on the muddy roads! And they cannot tell their parents to build their houses like the ones they see on tv shows. It is like they can’t see ahead, to a better way, a better future!
To all of this, you add a few more things like trash in the streets (there is no garbage service), bad traffic orchestrated by crazy untrained drivers that have no idea of a traffic code. Add unemployment and insecurity….and the list keeps going!
And yet, still in this same city, you meet people who are trying to emerge, to do well, to meet life’s goals, to pursue ambitions, to start businesses, to improve what they already have….and those who are seeking for any opportunity that comes their way. These are the individuals we like to serve.
Pastor Emmanuel Lubala came up with a very interesting topic for the year 2018: “HOPE” ( How can you paint such a dark picture and still talk about HOPE?)
It drew my attention, especially because of Future Hope Africa and our mission, and, also because of his preferred Bible verse during the two-week seminar: Jeremiah 29:11. His plans for our future are great, no matter what our present situation looks like.
In such a desolated place, where there is so much value crisis, the word, hope, is becoming so meaningless. “Hopefully,” we say. “Hope is alive,” we also say. But how much of that do we believe?
When you have hope, you fight! You do not cowardly run away from the battlefield. When David went to fight against Goliath, when he saw Goliath running towards him, he also ran to meet/fight him. 1 Samuel 17:48
We should not run away from our fights. We should confront them.
–Education, teaching our children for the hope of their future.
I took this information for me and for our non-profit, Future Hope Africa in Bukavu. I and my colleagues from FHA cannot just leave the DRC and go to be fake refugees somewhere in a Western country. We cannot just sell all that we have, including family and friends and our community’s chance at wellness, to go for a better life in Europe or in America. We cannot just think of ourselves while a whole community is going through turmoil. No, we can’t. That would just be the most selfish way to live, thinking of our own comfort and not others. Some may feel okay with that, but we just don’t.
I have to fight! Congolese people have to fight. People from Bukavu have to fight. We all have to fight! Our enemy is not a person. No—No! Our enemy is a situation, a state of malaise, a culture of depression. It is a number of things put together against our development, against our peace, against our security, against our happiness.
We cannot be afraid to take risks while we have the Almighty one on our side.
FHA will take risks to bring change!!
–Planting, watering. Looking to the future.