Thursday, May 5, 2011

NEVER SAY NEVER!

I believe you should "Never say goodbye" but now I am beginning to believe in the saying of "Never say never" because it could happen again.

During our mission here in Uganda we have returned to Luputa in the DR Congo 3 times.
We were in Luputa last November for the turnover ceremony for the large water project that we worked on our whole mission in the Congo. In February the Area Presidency asked us to return to the Congo to check on that same water project.. There were a few things that had not been completed and work had slowed down to a stand still. As the new humanitarian couple had just arrived and were not familiar with the project they asked us to leave Uganda and return to Luputa to assess the problem.

We ended up going by ourselves in February and then again in March with the new Humanitarian couple, the Binghams, and the water specialists Elder and Sister Frandsen. This was a reunion of sorts as the Frandsens had traveled with us to Luputa back in 2008. We just can't put this experience behind us without showing some of the pictures.

ROADS OR TRAILS?

Roads offer ultimate 4X4 experience.


No that is not our axle in the middle of the road but it is somebodies.



Heading to the fields for a days work.



Sis, Frandsen and Sis, Bingham enjoyed their 4X4 ride in the back of the truck with all the luggage and bottled water.
The country taxi or the only mode of transportation other than bicycle to get into the city.


CHURCH IN LUPUTA

Attending church in Luputa where there are 7 branches in the Luputa District and rumors they could become a stake as soon as they can get a building built.

It is Sunday, It is very hot and yes I am having a bad hair day.

Oldest member of the church in Luputa

Nestor Ilunga family.
Their picture was featured in the Liahona Magazine recently. He is the project supervisor for the Casava Farm in Luputa

All members walk to church. We doubt that any member has a car but some do have motorcycles.

VILLAGE LIFE IN LUPUTA

The road going into Luputa

An unfinished water fountain but they have found a way to get water out of it even it it drains the system dry.

Typical village homestead. Most everyone has a garden
Got to do protocal when you come to the village and register that you are in town'
The Bingham's first time to Luputa.
Entertainment of your own making.
Like mother, like daughter, a woman's work is never done.

Everyday fashion of Luputa.
Everyone is happy to meet the Binghams.
Getting dinner ready.
First you grow the gourd.
. . .then dry the gourd.

. . .cut the top off and clean the gourd out. Now you have a nice bowl to store your cassava flour.
Grind the corn with a mortor and pestle.

Stir the corn flour into boiling water then add some cassava flour.
Now you have FOOFOO, the staple starch of the Congo. Foofoo is eaten every day and most people think they would starve if they didn't get foofoo every day.
Smashing greens to cook for dinner.
LEFT OVERS FROM THE BELGIN ERA

The train station still in use today.

Housing for the train depot master.
:Petrol station no longer in use. The only petrol you can buy in Luputa is bought in two liter water bottles.
Post office - on the right porch is the individual mail boxes. Post office is no longer used. There is no mail system in this part of the Congo.


The train still runs in the Congo although trips are sporadic and when once we transported pipe for the water project to Luputa the shippment was delayed due to a strike.


FLORA AND FAUNA


Moss or a parasite? Not sure.
 

A wild fruit that grows out of the ground.
Elder Frandsen dared to try it.
You peel off the pretty red peel and eat the white flesh inside, It is rather sour but the natives love it.
African grasshopper. they are big and eatable . . . no thanks!
Is it a toad? Is it a frog? (never could figure that one out)
The goats must get to market . . .
, , ,one way or another.


THE PROBLEM


Exposed leaking water pipes.
Fountains with taps missing,

Tapes were left open and flowing freely at the upper villages draining the system and not allowing the tanks in Luputa to fill for distribution.

Elder Frandsen calculated that 1/2 of the water coming from the source was being lost at these free flowing taps. No wonder the tanks were not filling up.

THE FIX

Meet with the water committee and find our why they are not managing the system. They were pretty upset about some problems of a second water committee being established.
Meet with the contractor and establish a date to be finished and a plan to empower the water committee. Dominique Sowa had been and still is a very dear friend and an amazing water engineer. The Luputa project was his dream. He brought it to the church asking to have it developed.
We found that the tanks had never completely filled up since the water system was opened. A plan to get all the distribution sites secure and the pipes repaired and buried was put into an action plan.
Arthur, the engineer and keeper of the sysem was chewed out, praised and then empowered to get the system up and running.
Farrell was asked to speak to all the people monitoring the system and caring for each deistribution site. This was a real pep talk and he explained the sacred responsibility of managing this great gift of clean water.
The radio station reporters were eager to find out the problems and how the CHURCH was going to solve the problems. Elder Barlow gave them a charge to be the communicators for the community and support the plan of the water committee. They were to explain to the people that "water is free, a gift from God but the system is not free and the community had to pay for the water they use and safe guard the system so that it could serve them for many years to come. The church does not own the water system, it belongs to the community and the community through the water committee would govern the system.

THE REAL CONGO - THE PEOPLE



women carry 60 lbs. of water on their head, unbelievable.






Recycled sunglasses, notice the jute ties instead of stems over the ears.
Kindergarten playing "Had a Little Doggie and He Won't BIte You'


Classic Congolese hairdos
A classic African face

Quite a load for one bike, let alone one mother

A little pretended shyness



Got to be twins
Clasic Congolese fabric in this skirt
Homemade cards
Homemade guitar
Got to love the Congo - this is the true Africa
Hmmm, wonder if we will ever go back.


6 comments:

Eliza said...

Beautiful pictures. Wonderful work.

Melinda said...

great pics! how old was the oldest woman in the ward??? we have an 107 year old woman here in the Pratteln Ward ;)

Angela said...

The goats were hilarious! The grasshopper is enormous. I am pretty sure that water barrel is empty on top of your head. And maybe that's why your hair went flat- you are carrying things on it. Great pictures!!

LBJ said...

These pictures of the REAL CONGO touch my heart and make me remember why we're going back. It's been so much fun to be home that I've almost forgotten how wonderful the people of Congo are. Thanks for the reminder.

LBJ said...

PS-I sure do hope that you go back. We'd love to meet you in person.

President and Sister Livingstone said...

OH, the memories! ! You guys are living the dream. We are almost ready to put in our papers. OH, Luputa! ! How we cherish our memories of that place. NO pix of Marie Joset in this post. Is she still there?? And Pres. Binene and all of our returned missionaries?? ANd those "classic Congo" pictures are amazing and so memorable. Thanx for always taking such great shots and for posting them! ! We miss you guys. Hope that we are still here when you come home. Hugs.