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.|
|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.|
|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.|
|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.|
|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.|
|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 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|
Got to love the Congo - this is the true Africa
Hmmm, wonder if we will ever go back.