I’ve had a few messages asking me if I’m ok and what’s the status here regarding the protests against the President of the country. Violence in the capital has been pretty bad. Monday, there was a nation wide call for protests against the delay of the elections that are supposed to happen in October. They will not take place at this point.
We decided to play it by ear that morning. I saw on facebook tires were already burning in one of the neighborhoods here (not close to me), so by the time we would usually leave for the center, Camille decided Kelly and I would stay home. So we went home, packed our “go-bags” just in case we needed to evacuate (one change of clothes, passport, some cash, toothbrush/paste… necessities only; light, easy to carry or to run with) and worked from home. Rumors were spreading that protests against the governor were expected and that the roads in our neighborhood would be blocked. Since we live across the street from the governors compound, I was keeping an eye out.
The day turned out to be incredibly peaceful (and beautiful, might I add). I was keeping a pulse on the situation through pictures on facebook. Peaceful protests happened here without violence. One of the staff came to work with me from home and he commented on the change in mentality of the people of Goma. They used to be so ready to rise up and cause violence to be heard, but now they are peacefully protesting. We watched with sadness as uncensored photos of death was posted to facebook and sent through what’s app groups. Truly heart breaking.
So with all that said, I am fine, we are safe, all is calm here. Situation normal. And by situation normal, that means there are still massacres taking place in the surrounding regions of my province. People are being kidnapped, attacked, and massacred in Beni, Rutchuru and Massisi. Please continue to pray for these areas. For changed mentality and peace.
So speaking of situation normal good things… what does that look like? My life right now consists of French lessons from a French national 3/week. My French is improving. Vicky is back from Belgium so we are speaking pretty much only French so I can practice (it’s so hard to practice French at the center because everyone wants to speak English). I am still learning Swahili. I understand more than I can speak… but it’s coming. I prefer to learn slang so I can surprise locals with key phrases that make them think I speak Swahili fluently. Then I get a ton of street cred, respect and then they don’t sit and talk about me 😉
We are so busy with new grant applications. I’ve been translating a few things (I read French like a boss!… Maybe more like a mid-level manager, but still pretty well.) and of course working with the kids here in the school and the older Generation hope kids. Here are a few photos of this past week. It’s graduation time so many of my kids are defending their thesis in front of the university panel to graduate! Djbril may not have had all the answers for the defense, but his confidence was inspiring! (who needs the right answers with that much confidence!)
Some of our beautiful young women posing for me with the rainbow in the background over Rwanda.
Me and Mama Marie. She’s so dressed up! So beautiful!
Sam also defended his thesis, His mom works at UJN taking care of the grounds. Mama Marie’s Maries husband, Djibril, Mama Marie, Sam, me and Claudine who works with UJN’s Generation Hope program).
Me and Martin at Djbril’s thesis defense. We’re so African.
my crazy office mate (Victoire) in #mediapower office photo bombing our twin glasses selfie (Patricia and me)
English class selfie. When the kids requested this, I died laughing. They struggle to learn basic greetings, but nailed “let’s take a selfie”!
These are two of my favorite kids. So cute and love music.
again with the selfie requests! Love this little goof balls. Church picnic… killing time waiting for food.