HEAL Africa Water Project

4 Jun

Our nonprofit, the CAMP fund, supports Jean Nizeyimana Sebushani (Bizi), head of the Technical Department.  Bizi is responsible for making sure all equipment and capacities are functional at HEAL Africa, the Goma medical facility that serves primarily children with orthopedic needs and women who have been victims of sexual violence. This video shows a major project he recently undertook to get more reliable water access at the hospital.

Below we have copied the National Defence and the Canadian Forces article describing the completion of this project (published by 4 April 2011)

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In August 2010, a Canadian-Forces led project to build three water tanks was completed at HEAL Africa’s tertiary hospital in Goma, DRC. The tanks ensure the hospital has a reliable source of clean water for drinking, sanitation and surgical procedures. Coordinated by Task Force DRC, the total project budget was $61,266, including $20,000 from the Canadian Local Initiative Fund (administered by the Canadian Embassy in Kinshasa), $11,527 raised by HEAL Africa, and $29,738 from Canadian Expeditionary Forces Command.

Major Carolyne Lamarre, Information Operations Officer: From a Canadian point of view, the HEAL Africa project was very simple. The idea was to dig three gigantic holes of about 50 square metres in which to collect water — water to supply the hospital, especially during dry spells, because before that the hospital got no water at all. The people at HEAL Africa are very happy with the project. Each time I go back to the hospital, each time I go back with Canadians, they tell us how grateful they are and what a big change it has meant for the hospital.

Jean Nizeyimana Sebushani Head, Technical Department HEAL Africa: We had a serious problem before Canada gave us the funding to re‑establish a water supply. Before we had a hard time getting water, even in the operating room, or for the laundry, and sometimes we had to stop operating. Before, we were buying water — at least three truckloads a week — and we were paying at least $90, and it was very expensive for us. We submitted this project to CEFCOM. CEFCOM helped us again, they contacted the Canadian Ambassador. and the Canadian Embassy gave us a lot of help. This funding has made a huge change for us. I am one of the fortunate officers of HEAL Africa because no one is coming to tell me that we cannot operate because of lack of water. That doesn’t happen anymore.

Maj Lamarre: It was really interesting for me to be part of the HEAL Africa project because HEAL Africa is an organization that works very well. In the Congo, this organization contributes something to people and makes a difference. So for us Canadians to be able to make a difference in the Congo is very rewarding and that is why I am very happy to have worked with this organization.

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A big thank you to all of you who support Bizi's work.  If you would like to become a supporter or make a new contribution, simply use the Paypal donate button on the right.  All funds donated here go directly to the nonprofit 501(3)(c) CAMP Fund.

EVENT: Crisis in the Congo Screening

20 Jun

Congo Story knows that it is important but also challenging for the general public to understand what's happening in the DR Congo.  What's the story, anyway?  How do we talk about what's happening there?  Here's a great review of the challenge in telling the story of Congo's conflict:

 

 

This Pittsburgh event is designed to:

1. educate you about one of the largest ongoing humanitarian crises in the 21st century, and
2. help you take action as an advocate for peace so we can collectively bring this crisis to an end.

 

EVENT DETAILS

 

Day:

Thursday, June 30

Time: 6:00 Doors open.
  6:30-7:00 Film showing: "Crisis in the Congo"
  7:00-7:30 Presentation: "Advocating for Peace in Congo"
  7:30 Discussion(s)
Location:    Paramount Pictures Film Exchange Building
  1727 Boulevard of the Allies, Pittsburgh, PA

 

Admission is free.  Refreshments & snacks will be available for purchase.

 

On the 51st anniversary of Congo's independence, we are joining concerned citizens of various US cities in screening the short film, "Crisis in the Congo: Uncovering the Truth". The film is produced by Friends of Congo, an advocacy and activist group based in Washington D.C. dedicated to ending the crisis through "EMS": Education, Mobilization and Support of activists across the globe.


The film is a 26-minute version of a feature length production (to be released in the near future). This sobering look at the situation in Congo will be followed by an informative and encouraging presentation designed to help concerned citizens take informed action and share in a hopeful vision of Congo's future.

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"Crisis in the Congo" Trailer & Plot Synopsis:

 


"Crisis in the Congo: Uncovering The Truth" exposes the role that the United States and its allies, Rwanda and Uganda have played in triggering the greatest humanitarian crisis at the dawn of the 21st century. The film locates the Congo crisis in a historical, social and political context. It unveils analysis and prescriptions by leading experts, practitioners, activists and intellectuals that are not normally available to the general public. The film is a call to conscience and action.

Videos

Botanist Corneille Ewango talks about his work at the Okapi Faunal Reserve in the Congo Basin -- and his heroic work protecting it from poachers, miners and raging civil wars.

 

 

I know this kid. His name is Innocent Balume, and he won the Congolese equivalent of America's Got Talent!

 

Art as Activism in Goma (International Film Festival)

 

Dance Battle at Yole!

Fiction

This list covers works of fiction whose subject/setting is Congo.  They are written by a far-flung group of authors around the globe.  I have done my best to provide a brief synopsis of these works and indicate some of the important ways these texts have been produced, received and used.

 

Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad, published 1902

This is a fictional account of a hired sailor traveling the Congo river on a steamer for a company that collects and transports ivory for European markets.  Part of Marlowe's job involves finding and retrieving Kurtz, a man with legendary abilities to collect ivory and, thus, a man key to the company's continued profit.  The story is largely based on Conrad's personal travels on a Congo steamer in 1890.  In fact, "The Congo Diary" is a nonfictional account later published that relates the raw experience informing this novel.  In its time, Heart of Darkness served to help expose the brutality of colonial methods and to show the contradictions between Belgium's advertized mission (humanitarian aid and bestowing the benefits of civilization on the Congolese) and its real goal: voracious exploitation of both human and natural resources.  Modern scholarship has engaged in considerable debate over Conrad's representation of native Congolese.  Congo and its people are described from Marlowe's (and Conrad's) limited outsider perspective as he floats down the banks of the river from one site of exploitation to the next.  He never sees a peaceful community environment  in Congo; he witnesses only the disruptions and violence of colonialism and what he calls "the vilest scramble for loot that ever disfigured the history of human concience and geographical exploration."  That limitation must be kept in full view while reading the novel, so you realize that this is a story about a scenario of colonial violence not a story that seeks to describe a nation or people.

 

King Leopold's Soliloquy by Mark Twain, published 1905

This Mark Twain's satirical speech in which King Leopold of Belgium, who made the Congo his personal property from 1885-1908, talks to himself in the fashion of a diabolical villain   explaining his plan and pleased with his own cleverness.  He is shown as mercurial, greedy, amoral--one might even say he is given a sociopathic character.  Here is the profile of a mass murderer who knows and even at times takes pleasure in the deaths of the Congolese he causes.  He is interested in one thing above all else: power.  The piece functioned in its day as an exposure of King's silver-tongued falsehoods; it is peppered with quotes from newspapers, witness accounts, and historical facts.  The soliloquy is a synthesis of these elements that clearly show the contradiction between Leopold's polite promises of help and his barbaric actions in the Congo.  This is important to note because Leopold had carefully cultivated a reputation as a hero of the Congolese people in Europe and America and he was widely regarded as he wished to be seen: as an elegant, refined, well-spoken, morally-upright leader.  He first legitimized his intervention in Congo with a paternal concern that roused almost universal sympathy in the wake of widespread abolition (ie. 1865 US officially abolished slavery nationwide): he expressed a felt responsibility to "save the Congolese" from Arab slave traders who menaced them.  He explained eloquently that it was his responsibility to "bring light to the darkness" and give the gifts of civilization to the natives in Congo as a way of lifting them out of their misery.   Meanwhile, he set up a regime far worse than any problem he claimed as the reason for his presence in Congo.  As the soliloquy shows, he made out like a bandit, profiting obscenely from ivory and rubber trade collected through forced labor, while Congolese died in the millions.

 

More to come...  Here are some of the titles I intend to write about:

 

A Bend in the River by V.S. Naipaul
The Catastrophist by Ronan Bennett
The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
Broken Glass by Alain Mabanckou
Little Boys Come from the Stars (French) by Emmanuel Dongala
Johnny Mad Dog (French) by Emmanuel Dongala
The Dream of the Celt (Spanish: El sueño del celta) Mario Vargas Llosa.

 

Blogs

Friends of the Congo  * We respect the integrity and quality of their work as well as share a goal of peace and "making space" for Congolese to manage their own affairs--we have cultivated a friendship with Friends of Congo.  We highly recommend their site as a source for information and advocacy.

Congo Siasa

ENOUGH Congo

Texas in Africa

Congo Watch

African Arguments

 

UPCOMING EVENTS

 

 

Several things are in the works right now...  stay tuned for updates!!