Thursday, April 16, 2009
They are standing in from of their shop where they sell a variety of hardware, light bulbs, grinding wheels, flashlights, batteries, screwdrivers, and electrical equipment like outlets and sockets. At night they close the front of the booth, lock it and walk across the street to their apartment.
In order to marry, Edy had to pay a dot (pronounced dote) to Carin's family. All of her family, including aunts and uncles had the right to demand goods from Edy so that he could marry her. He paid 1,000 dollars, bought new pots and pans for her mother, a vest for her father, two men's suits for other relatives, and assorted tools for the rest of the family. It took Edy one year to raise the dot. This includes asking friends and acquaintances for help. When he finally turned everything over to the family, they were culturally married -- that was the ceremony.
The dot makes it hard for young people to get married. Often men marry much younger women because it is so hard to become financially stable enough to pay off the family. Paying the dot makes it hard to start life together with even the bare necessities. Of our small acquaintance, three Congolese men are working to earn the dot. The flip side of this tradition is that if anything happens to Edy, his family can take everything back and Carin and any children can be left with nothing.
Sunday, April 12, 2009
This is the Handicapped Center where people gather to talk to volunteers and to get whatever help is available. Look closely at this picture. Can you identify the four people who use shoes on their hands to get around? The woman in front of the door had the biggest smile we have seen in the DR Congo, yet mobility for her was extremely difficult as she had no function in her lower body.
This small, homegrown NGO has established a sewing center in a market area. On Monday, Wednesday and Friday, one group sews at the center. On Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday another group sews there. The goods are marketed from the shop.
This man is blind. He had just finished tailoring a pair of men's pants.
This is a father and son. The father has learned to repair shoes that others have thrown away and sell them. He has a withered leg. The son has no use of his legs.
This woman has learned to make African dolls. She lives with her family. Her legs are also in braces.
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
A view from the top shows the depth of the problem. Along the edge, it is possible to see a home that is within a few inches of being the next home lost in the chasm.
The community participates in solving the problem. On both sides of the divide, people fill sandbags with sand from volunteer's yards.
Bombyck goes down for a view from the bottom. Notice the bamboo reinforcements. This is the strategy designed to keep the area from washing away again.
From the bottom, the size of the problem is more obvious. The man in the white t-shirt is a community supervisor, also a member of the LDS Church from the community.