Wednesday, May 27, 2020

This report comes from Pierre Lokeka, of the Kitumaini Centre in DRC, as of May 2020:


I would like to talk about the problems we are currently experiencing: during this week alone, 5 women were surprised by our leaders in the villages harvesting beans not yet ripe. These women justify this by hunger. If we cannot find a solution for the lean season, we cannot properly estimate the production of each woman at the end of the campaign. Among the 5 women concerned, 2 have children suffering from severe malnutrition. One of the women even has 2 children with very advanced hernias who require surgery. But for the family, the priority remains to find food.

It is difficult to understand the actions on the ground of international organizations like WFP. In Uvira, there are many victims, more than 6,800 homeless people, houses washed away by the waters, a hundred dead. The press says that the European Union has released funds for the claims, but on the ground we see nothing. WFP and the government do not assist people in our region, despite the high rate of malnutrition.

Thanks to Italian friends, there is a group of children whose families are at least reassured: these malnourished children benefit from the porridge program that helps them improve their health. The same is true for children studying at the Umoja / Scuola di Pietro School Group. They benefit from the porridge to cover the day and stay diligent during class hours.

During our field visits, we found that women and children are more concerned with finding food than anything else. They are also very fragile in the face of diseases, due to the lack of food and hygienic conditions: the places where they spend the night, the state of their toilets, etc. are conditions beyond poverty, for which there are no words. These are human beings who live as "human sub-beings" or animals. I dare not share with you the photos of the places where some women or children sleep or of their toilets, unless someone requests them, because their standard of living is not worthy of our world today.

During this week, we provided support to a few families and especially a few older women who had benefited from the care and support of the Kitumaini Centre in the years 2004-2005. These women remain very grateful to CK. They are all widows, but two of them caught our attention the most: one, 101, had no children and lives alone. Her neighbours help her by collecting water for her. The other also is a widow and over at least 90 years old. If it rains, the whole house is wet. She sleeps on a bamboo bed without mattress; her little house is a small room with just her bed at the foot of which she cooks. When it rains, the house streams from everywhere, it's like being outside. We brought them sugar, flour, breads, salt and clothes.

Some women think they are cursed and that misfortunes only happen to them because of their past and what they have experienced. The exchanges with them and the experience acquired allowed me to help a good number of them so that they can change their way of seeing things: just with regular meetings and sharing of ideas. These women like to feel considered, valued, loved. I asked the facilitators to schedule weekly visits to a few women to their homes and I know it will help them because I have already experienced it several times successfully. Some of the women who were still young have remarried and have found a zest for life and joy.