Turmoil continues near Butembo and the needs at the orphanage are constant. There are no government support or foreign agencies able to help. Can you?

Support for Orphans in Butembo

Bens In Congo will send 100% of your support directly to the Mama Dorcas orphanage for food and medicines and will match the first $2,000. Please edit for your PayPal donation of any amount, from wherever you are in the world.

$20.00

The people of Congo have incredible needs. Our personal goal is to support people in eastern Congo in practical and effective ways. To that end, we have met urgent needs such as meeting medical bills and ensuring there is enough food at an orphanage. Where possible, we have tried to fund projects that will be able to generate income or to provide support for when our support is not available. This has resulted in our financing goats and chicken projects, inventory for sale at the Butembo market, sewing machines to produce saleable clothes and small loans for business. These financings have been about providing capital that would otherwise be unavailable.

With the help and supervision of James Kataliko, our latest project is now underway in Goma. James has organized a team that will produce concrete blocks in an area on the northwest outskirts of the city where there is demand for building materials.

This project is providing employment for several people. 25% of the income earned will be set aside quarterly for charitable or humanitarian purposes. Bonuses will be provided to employees and the balance of profits will be maintained in the business for growth and expansion.

The goal is for this project to be not just self-sufficient, but to be able to grow and thrive while supporting worthwhile humanitarian needs. It won’t be without its challenges. It’s hard work. The price of cement has increased beyond initial budgets. Quality levels have to be mastered and maintained. The loyalty of customers has to be earned. Theft of production or of the equipment is a huge risk. It is never easy for small entrepreneurs, but we have assembled a team up to the challenge.

An accountant has been identified who will work with James to provide a quarterly financial report. We are looking forward to receiving the first report.

A primary goal of our goat and chicken projects is to provide a means of providing sustainable and growing wealth. Beneficiaries initially receive a goat or chicken in exchange for a commitment to return a replacement animal back to local leaders after the initial animals have reproduced. As the animals reproduce, new wealth is created for the initial owners and then for the subsequent beneficiary owners. The program continually expands as new beneficiaries receive an animal. Local leaders can determine the initial distribution based on need, on perceived levels of responsibility or any criteria they choose.

An important aspect to this program is that the animal represent available wealth or a store of value to their owner. Many Congolese, most Congolese in rural areas, don’t have bank accounts. Animals can replace a bank account.

Mama Dusabe with her baby goats in Rutshuru

One of our beneficiaries of the Rutshuru area goat project was the widowed Mama Dusabe. Her goat had just provided her with two baby goats. Mama Dusabe told James Kataliko that at that time her child had become seriously ill, so she sold her first goat and was able to pay the bills for the medical care of her child.

This would not have been possible without having a store of value by owning a goat.

In Congo and the poorest areas of the world, it can be virtually impossible to save money because the needs in the family or of neighbours are so great. If you have money, you are expected to help. Maintaining your wealth in the form of livestock is an ancient and enduring method of maintaining a store of value that can be accessed in a pressing time of need.

Mount Nyiragongo has erupted and threatens Goma for the first time since 2002 when lava flows killed hundreds and destroyed the airport.

So far, lava has primarily flowed east towards Rwanda but flows have also destroyed some suburb areas of Goma to the south of the volcano. Thousands have needed to flee and many areas have been destroyed. The main road north to Ruthshuru, home of our recent goat project, has been cut off. Thankfully, the flows have sparred downtown Goma and the most densely populated parts of this area of two million people, but the danger is not yet over.

We had planned to visit Goma in 2011, but changed our plans at the last minute. This old post explains why Goma has been called the World’s Most Dangerous City. https://bensincongo.com/2011/11/14/weve-been-re-routed/

Based on the success of earlier goat projects, James Kataliko has helped to organize a new project in Rutshuru which is only 7 km from the Ugandan border. As before, ten recipients received a female goat (a nanny) with a promise to return a baby goat (kid) in the future. Billy goats are maintained by the village and loaned out. In the future, local leaders will distribute the kids received to new recipients and the cycle will continue. This a self-sustaining investment designed to create enduring wealth in a practical form.

For this project, James was able to identify an area where a group of women and widows were identified to be the initial recipients.

One recipient of a nanny goat is Claudine, now 15 years old. When 13 she had been raped by rebels. Our hope is that this project will help people like her to get established. The women receiving goats are said to be elated and very hopeful with this project.

Delivery of the goats wasn’t without issues. James arranged to have a minivan transport the goats from nearby Kiwanja to Rutshuru, but the roads had many barricades established by Congolese soldiers due to the history of trouble in the area. James had to repeatedly talk his way through the requests for money.

If true, this is significant.

British doctors at Oxford University are claiming their Burkina Faso based clinical trials for a malaria vaccine achieved 77% efficacy. It was a relatively small trial with 450 participants. There will now be a follow on trial of 4,800 participants.

400,000 people die each year from Malaria. There were an estimated 229 million cases worldwide in 2019.

To access the clinical trial paper: https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3830681

We have been battling malaria for some time, so it can be defeated. Drugs today can be effective but cost is an issue for the world’s poorest. We have to be willing to fund a vaccine to make it effective. It is interesting how widespread malaria was a century again, reaching cities not associated with malaria such as Toronto, Stockholm and Moscow based on this map.

Dorcas has recently welcomed these two 4 year old boys into the orphanage. Their parents were killed in the ongoing violence that is gripping the Butembo and Beni area. When I asked Dorcas about their names, I was told that no one knows. The boys have been traumatized and so far unable to speak. It is horrific to think about what they may have witnessed.

In addition to Islamist ADF rebels acting without humanity, now there has been extended violence fostered by young men angry about the ineffectiveness of the UN / MONUSCO. They are demanding that MONUSCO leave but there has been no indication of that happening anytime soon.

In my last post, I rhetorically asked how much more could the people take. The response was clear. Very little. Civilians have now responded by effectively shutting down all activity in both Beni and Butembo.

https://www.africanews.com/2021/04/08/strike-over-civilian-massacres-brings-dr-congo-s-east-to-a-halt/

A key demand of the protesters is the expulsion of UN (MONUSCO) personnel from Congo due to their utter ineffectiveness. People have complained that the soldiers won’t go 50 meters from their bases. This blog has long noted the disrepute the Congolese hold for the UN, including here and here and here.

Scenes such as the following video are commonplace now. My assumption is that the the Islamist ADF are the perpetrators of this slaughter and the Congo army is there just for the clean up while the crowd chants their displeasure in the background. I continue to use Rumble as YouTube would not permit the uploading of this video.

Gunshots presumably fired in the air by the army were used to clear the streets in Beni in this video:

The magnitude of the civilian uprising in Butembo can be seen in this video:

Protesters in Butembo want to see MONUSCO gone!

The violence continues in eastern Congo with a growing savagery. Another dozen people were killed today, on top of dozens last week. Decapitation and the mutilation of innocents has been commonplace.

The region from Oicha in the north down to Butembo in the south was recently brought to a virtual standstill as citizens protested the unending violence. People have had enough and can take little more. Angry youths placed barricades across some streets, which were later removed by police. Shops were closed, schools failed to open and streets were deserted as people protested.

There are still 18,000 UN “peacekeepers” in Congo, but people question what they are doing. According to the Economist, “All helmet and no mettle”. That would be a polite description related to their failure to control the violence.

There had been a call for more African peacekeepers, but that hasn’t transpired. The UN mission continues to be a job creation technique for developing world soldiers who don’t want to be there.

The Congo army has long shown itself to be incapable of dealing with the terrorists. The UN is better equipped but lacks the motivation to take any risks. There is very little reason for hope at the moment.

I have received horrific photos of death and mutilation, a hallmark of the Islamist terrorists. I debate with myself the wisdom of posting them as the regular media would never display them for valid reasons. I think they need to be shown. This isn’t a children’s blog. These photos have been sent to me because Congolese want these pictures shown. They want the world to understand the ongoing terror in their lives. And I assure you that I haven’t picked the worst pictures.

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