Muzungos in town

Img_4014 Posted by David Gough on Fri, 10 May 2013 | 0 comments | Bookmark: digg this Post this to del.icio.us Post this to Facebook

The second leg of my visit to DR Congo began on an airstrip at Beni in Eastern DR Congo, where I met up with Rev Andrew Rawding. Andrew is the Rector of the Parishes of Brackaville, Donaghendry and Ballyclog, Coalisland and Stewartstown, County Tyrone. He had flown from Dublin two days earlier and had to stay in Beni overnight, while waiting for the connection to Goma.

As the Bishop’s flight was rescheduled to arrive from Kinshasa, the capital, on Saturday afternoon, we would have two and half days to explore Kindu, before starting our programme in earnest. Travelling anywhere in DR Congo is not as simple as we’ve become accustomed to at home. Nothing can be taken for granted here and arrangements often don’t happen as planned.

I first travelled into DR Congo ten years ago while working for Concern Worldwide. Without knowing at the time, I was actually in the Diocese of Kindu in a place called Kasongo as well as crossing the Congo River to the rail-head at Samba.

After our warm welcome led by Archdeacon Paul Masoud and some familiar faces I remembered from my last visit in October 2011, we were driven to Kasuku Parish for the official welcome and yes… a ‘cup of tea’. After a short welcome with the small choir singing in perfect harmony we were led down the road in a procession to the Bishop’s home, where we’d be staying.

Andrew had brought some modelling balloons and was the centre of attention every time he took them out blew up the balloons and transformed them into dogs, giraffes and other animals. We now had time to take an evening stroll into Kindu town and along the Congo riverfront practicing our few words of Swahili and French. People are so friendly and keen to engage the two strange ‘Muzungos’ (white man) walking around town greeting people.

One noticeable change from my last visit to Kindu is the number of new roads being built, including a dual-carriageway, being built by Chinese contractors. When I asked where the roads led to I was informed to Kindu Roman Catholic Cathedral. I also noticed that the town had its second bank. The Bishop proudly showed me the first bank eighteen months earlier.

The Diocese has seen some progress too with a new satellite internet connection installed as well as the opening of the new Kasuku Parish. So I’m glad to say that Kindu is developing slowly, slowly.

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