Friday, April 16, 2010

Latrines for the City of Hope

In March 2009, we visited the City of Hope -- a City without much Hope actually-- on the top of a large sand pile, with little to recommend it [see blog of March 2009].  The people have worked hard, other NGO's have tried to help.  There are now community latrines (not a favorite with the population -- locked at night!), a large pavilion, and a small well, powered by solar panels.  We have received permission to create four more wells and provide latrine slabs and training for hygiene.
On April 19th, we participated with HPP and the local NGO in the symbolic distribution of the latrines to the community.  HPP has organized the community into 5 blocks with committees and an overall committee for the project.  These committees will supervise the hygiene training.

This is what the typical "before" latrine looks like, bare ground or a small hole.
This is a demontration latrine to show the people what they will need to do.

Our site monitor, Bombyck, designed a "post hole digger" to assist as people dig through the compressed sand.  Those pictured are upside down.

This hole is about deep enough, but not wide enough for good sanitation.

The local NGO, UNIVADE, was trained to produce the 8,000 latrine slabs.
Each slab has a cover for protection from flying insects.

The truck delivering the wood necessary to brace the latrine slabs struggled on the wet, sandy roads.  The first delivery was of poor wood, so Bomcyck took the 12 hour trip to hand pick wood from the lumber yard in Matadi.

Still working on the treatment of the wood!

  The ceremonial presentation of slabs was made to the heads of each committee.

At the ceremony, one latrine slab was placed.


The new latrine is located behind this house.

The committee heads are very happy.
A ceremonial (thank heavens) demonstration -- life here requires good knees.

Thursday, April 15, 2010


Congolese love bright colors and unique designs.  They work with fabric to create unique ways to bring the color and design together.  One of the cottage industries for young women is to learn to sew.  To have a dress or men's pants and shirt made, you choose the style, you choose the fabric (often locally made) and they measure you and produce the clothing.  Usually it works out pretty well.  Women have new dresses made for special occasions and it is not unusual to see women at a funeral or wedding in dresses out of the same fabric. 
Men are not shy about clothing either!  Men's clothing can be out of any design -- sometimes even pastel eyelet. 
Here are some examples of clothing we have seen here......
The following pictures are from Madame Dorcas's school of sewing, where young orphans are  being taught how to sew.  The dresses they are wearing are of their own creation.

Dancing at our friend's wedding, two women have new, beautifully designed dresses.

Three boys from our ward at Church in their matching outfits, shirts and shorts.

Angele and Dieudonne have established a sewing school for young women in the Montngafula Stake -- these are the clothes they have made for sale at their shop.

Elder Kola teaches a class in his classy black and white shirt.
Another special celebratory dress -- this time in a special fabric.

Our friend, Dr. Florence Ngoy, with her new baby.  Dr. Florence is wearing a dress made of fabric that celebrates the international day of the woman.

Our Site monitor Eric and his (then) fiancee Deena --- and our friend Maguy with her son.

Water for Lutendeli

Lutendeli is a community which covers an area of rolling hills on the western side of Kinshasa.  The area overlooks African countryside and the section for this well, Couret, borders a pineapple plantation.  The small houses have yards -- areas to grow gardens.  Access to water has been an on-going problem.  In the area, LDS Humanitarian Services has also funded a latrine project and garden projects.
Gardeners greet us with song.

Watering the garden when there is no rain takes many hours.
This woman single-handed turned her garden plot into a garden of Eden, complete with tomatoes in small holes and a pig at the bottom of the garden.
Latrine and hygiene training included sanitation.  This a handwashing station -- pull the plug in the bidon and you have a small stream of water.

Sanitary latrine -- has a cover to keep the flies away.

The man in the pink shirt is the chief of the village.  He moved out of his house so that the pipe for the well could be stored there -- his community's treasure.

The cement stand for the water reservoir is formed.  Community members dug the trenches for the pipe to the water stations.

At the turnover ceremony, President Tabu of the Ngaliema Stake greets the crowd and turns over the well to
 the community.

President Tabu, Montgafula Mayor, Minister of Rural Development

The reservoir is filled with water and people line up to get waer at one of the five water stations.  One woman said, "I prayed for water and you brought it!"

Sunday, March 21, 2010


In the Congo, women's hairdo's are part of their dressing.  At first it is hard to recognize our friends, because their hair always changes.  Women wear a lot of wigs and have elaborate braids and do's with their natural hair and with synthetic hair woven in.

These braids last about ten days -- if the women wash them too much, they become fuzzy, so this is not a long term hair-do!
The mystery is how do they get their daughters to hold still for this?
This is the typical man-do -- shaved or short!

More hair styles in the future!