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Road construction between eastern Congo and various access points in Uganda is set to commence next week. The economic importance of these roads will be significant for both countries.

According to the bilateral agreement with DRC, Uganda will contribute 20% of the total cost of the project estimated at USD $334.5 million, as a measure to boost trade between the two countries.

The roads being built include; Budiba Bridge across River Semuliki with Rwebisengo-Budiba-Bunia Access Road (78Km), Mpondwe/Kasindi-Beni Road (77km), Nebbi-Goli-Bunia Road (197km), Goma-Rutshuru-Bunagana Road (100km) and Bukavu-Goma-Butembo-Beni-Bunia Corridor (758km).

Bens In Congo first reported on this project between DRC and Uganda in November 2019. In October 2020, a similar deal in principle was struck to also advance road construction linking South Sudan with DRC and Uganda. There aren’t many roads labeled as “good” in these 2015 maps! (Click to enlarge)

The following video was recorded in 2011 as we travelled south from Bunia to Butembo. As part of a massive deal to obtain Congo resources, China agreed to pave selected roads in the country. The video demonstrates a beautiful Chinese road as you approach Beni from the north (obviously a “good” road per the map). Beni to Butembo is one of the most scenic roads in the world but it has to be travelled at < 25 km per hour (at the most!).

This link is an excellent resource for detail on DRC roads. From this link, you can easily access excellent information for various infrastructure in DRC and other developing nations.

Dorcas Mbambu has always been good with reporting the use of funds that have been provided to her.

In early 2020, we had provided fresh funds for the sewing project, just in time for COVID-19. Funds were needed to refurbish some equipment but also to hire a dedicated worker who could market and manage the output. COVID-19 limited these plans as originally envisioned, but it led to new opportunities. 250 face masks were produced and sold for USD $1.00 each. In addition, 100 vests and 156 uniforms were sold. These numbers are well below full capacity, but they provided additional profits and employment with wages for three people. From the profits, chickens and cages were purchased as well as food for the children.

Butembo has seen Ebola, unimaginable violence, and now COVID-19. Once some normalcy returns, our hope the sewing project will provide sewing life skills, employment, profits from the sale of goods produced, and purpose.

The orphanage continues to meet a huge need. Dorcas explained that the recently arrived babies shown above were picked up beside the corpses of their parents. Violence in the region continues to rage. 150 have been killed since December 11, 2020. 67,000 have recently fled their homes. The vast majority of tragic news is continually underreported in our media.

The updates provided by Dorcas summarizes spending but also the funding received by the various supporters from around the world. If you are in any of these countries, please consider a donation that can be directed to Congo. A little certainly goes a long way! Here is a list:

CMS Ireland –

Semiliki Trust (UK) –

Congo Aid (Australia) –

Congo Church Association (UK) –

On December 28, 2020, ADF rebels filmed themselves attacking the small village of Loselose, east of Beni, near Bulongo just past the Semuliki River. Loselose is an agricultural village producing cocoa, papaya and other crops.

I’m told that the Congo army (FARDC) recaptured the village an hour later. The video is just under 5 minutes. It verifies the unprofessional nature of ADF as they seem content to fire bullets rather indiscriminately.

This video and incident was verified by Kijiji Cha Amani.

YouTube and Google would not permit the uploading of this video. I had no problems using Rumble, which I will use going forward.

Rebels have terrorized the defenseless people of Kalondo for some time. We just learned that at the Kalondo medical clinic marauding rebels had stolen the battery which supported the solar energy system. This small system provided basic but needed lighting.

James was able to co-ordinate with Saasita to replace the battery. It shouldn’t surprise anyone that China controls the battery market in east Africa! Saasita promptly delivered the battery so the clinic could enjoy some limited power.

As a thank-you, the locals provided Saasita with bananas. Hopefully she had some help getting them back to Butembo!

James Kataliko has been able to visit Shasha, near Goma, to review Project Kesho Njema. This project is based on the provision of 11 goats (9 female) in late January 2020 to the Kihunde speaking community on Lake Kivu. Recipients of the goats are expected to return a baby (kid) goat to the elders who will then repeat the process by delivering the goat to a new recipient. The elders keep a breeding or stud goat and ensure compliance with the recipients.

There are now 3 baby goats with 3 more on the way.

Kesho Njema translates as Tomorrow is Better.

Here is the original post on the project:

The inspiration for this project was based on an earlier project with chickens “Kuku yangu, tenga yayi” “My chicken, give me eggs!”

I apologize for the lack of posts.  It’s been quite busy since the advent of COVID-19, but a lot has been happening in eastern DRC too.

The DRC has been hit by COVID-19 like everywhere else in the world, but with a population of ~ 85 million, a death tally of 260 people has been quite moderate by world standards. Canada’s death toll stands at 9,145 and the U.S. is 188,000. The trend for active cases in Congo looks promising. Nonetheless, fear and precaution taking has restricted Congolese travel and business activities.  

Sewing Project Updated
With some fresh funding, the sewing project associated with the school for orphans has been kickstarted again. Enough funds were provided for restocking inventory, hiring Kakule Mutsunde as full time manager for a year and having an excess of USD $420 provided to the school as rent.  COVID-19, like Ebola and extreme violence in the region, has restricted the ability to sell and distribute clothing.  They were well positioned to produce COVID-19 masks originally for the kids. With Kakule Mutsunde’s involvement they have been able to produce and sell masks for profit. The goals continues to be training students and to generate profits that can support the school.

Butembo Market
Consider what selling your goods in the Butembo market would be like in the best of circumstances. They have now dealt with extreme violence, Ebola and COVID-19, yet they continue to operate.  While business has been slower under COVID-19, the business continues to operate at a profit.  They have been able to increase their inventory on hand while supporting the orphan Dieula from their profits.

Butembo (Dorcas) Orphanage
Dorcas continues to manage the orphanage under challenging decisions and new orphans continue to stream in. In a just world she would be honoured as Mother Teresa was honoured. They continue to need support.

Please consider a donation!


Support for Pascal

BensInCongo will send 100% of your support directly to Pascal in Goma that will him and his family and additionally match the first $500. Please edit for your PayPal donation of any amount, from wherever you are in the world.


This town has suffered in the extreme.  Saasita keeps in touch. Mai Mai militiamen took over the town and the people all fled into the jungle to escape.  The last I heard was that in June the Congo security forces were trying to recapture the town. The town’s people continue to need your prayers.

Kesho Njema Project
James Kataliko reports that the goat project is progressing very well.  One goat died, but they were able to sell the meat.  With the proceeds they bought a small goat and give it to the owner.

James helping out some more
James Kataliko also reported that with funds provided to him he helped pay the maternity costs for a woman without means.  The little girl’s name is Destiny.  James was also able to provide some funds to the unpaid teachers of the Butembo Primary Scout School who are at home due to COVID-19.

Pascal decided to grow his taxi business between Butembo and Goma by buying a larger vehicle just as Ebola was hitting and then he had to deal with COVID-19.  His resilience has been tested but has been proven as he has responsibly been able to maintain his monthly loan payments.

James Kataliko has long been faithful with supporting our efforts to help in eastern Congo and honest with his dealings so he was a prime candidate for microfinance support when he brought forward his need.  He was paying rent but considering acquiring his own home.  We were able to structure a loan deal that made his monthly loan payment lower than his rent.  This deal was possible because James had proved his personal integrity.

James has a new home!

Saasita – Hygiene Awareness
Saasita continues to support community awareness projects.  She created a hand washing program and set out to educate people on COVID-19.

Reality statutes
This monument should receive awards but have a warning to children for its gruesomeness. Decapitation by machete, blood and guts spilling out, it is all here after being erected in Mangina, near Beni.  The initiator of this work of art, the honorable provincial deputy Kasereka Siwako Alain said that it was created is in order to challenge the international community on what is happening in the region.

Mangina Monument

“We erected this monument to challenge the international community in relation to the massacres in Beni,” said this elected representative of the territory of Beni.

This well produced music video was produced in honour of Saasita as he thanks her for her council, her care and he prays to God for her longevity.

I have no idea why he is wearing three watches.

Canadian winters can be a challenge for many people.  Michael started clearing snow for a neighbour, Gwen, who is a retired lady.  When Gwen offered to compensate Michael, a deal was quickly struck that any money received for snow shovelling would be forwarded to Congo.

Saasita recently asked for some support for the women of Kalondo, a small community south west of Butembo.  She is developing a program for the capacity building and empowerment of Kalondo women and this seemed like an ideal way to direct some funds.  I’m sure I will hear more about this program.  After a quick confirmation with Gwen, USD $100 has been forwarded to Saasita for the women of Kalondo.

Our daughter Michelle has just returned to our home in Waterloo, Ontario with her husband Mike after living in Beijing, China the past 4.5 years.  She hasn’t seen a Canadian winter in over eight years, but jumped at the chance to try our new snow blower!

At least 36 civilians are dead after a massacre just north of Beni.  The main attack took place late Tuesday in Manzingi, a village 20 kilometres northwest from Oicha, while a pastor was also killed in nearby Eringeti.

All were hacked to death with machetes.  The extremist Islamic ADF is being blamed.

President Tshisekedi, in his first state-of-the-nation address to Congress, last month said he had changed the army (FARDC) command in Beni and sent 22,000 troops to the region.  The ADF are believed to number only around 450 but the local terrain has allowed them to evade capture.  This attack was further west than usual, as the ADF originated in western Uganda and usually stay closer to the border.

Area of massacres _ Oicha _ 2020 Jan


Kesho Njema translates as Tomorrow is Better.

One of our favourite projects was  “Kuku yangu, tenga yayi!” which translates to “My chicken, give me eggs!

In that project, a village received 20 chickens. The village elders delivered a male and female to ten young families. The obligation of the recipients was to return two chickens a year later that could be distributed to another young or needy family. Our seed money to acquire the chickens is enabling local wealth accumulation in the form of chickens.

Keshi Njema is designed to repeat this concept with goats.

Under the supervision of James Kataliko, 11 goats were purchased for a Kihunde speaking community on the north-west shores of Lake Kivu, about 15-20 km west of Goma. People here badly suffered from MaiMai attacks but it has become calmer.  BTW, Google Maps says that you would average a pace of 30 km per hour (18.6 mph) to travel and arrive from Butembo.  That sounds about right!

Shasha and BweremanaKivu to Butembo

9 are female and 2 are special male breeding goats. The goats were divided between groups in two villages who gave themselves competing names: The N’tsh (“love between people”) and the Mughole (“the wife of the King”). The females were distributed with the recipients having drawn by lot. The elders retain control of the males and will make them available on a rotation. (Ah, the life of a stud. Produce or you become a stew.)

Goats 6

It was agreed that the recipients should contribute $10 towards their goat. $15 was considered too much for the people to afford. The elders will manage this project that we expect will be sustainable. In return, the elders will provide salt licks that will encourage the goats to fatten up. A local goat costs ~ USD $80 to acquire and deliver.  We would love to repeat this project if funds were available.

Goats 5

Goats 4

A special thank-you to Jack from Peterborough who contributed towards this project. Also a special thank-you to James Kataliko (shown below) who once again demonstrated his strong commitment to help make these projects happen. We couldn’t possibly do this from Canada without local help!

James Kataliko after delivering goats

This video was shot in the same location. Enjoy!

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