Narrative report for the period 1 July to 30 November 2012 and Christmas Greetings dated Dec. 18, 2012
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
For a long time we have not written. Since end June, we were overwhelmed with a great variety of activities. These were as well activities in the communities around us with a new project in 40 villages, as activities in and with our orphanage and clinic Musue Bantu as also activities to insure the survival of BUTOKE and help donors understand our actions.
We share in the following paragraphs some highlights with you.
Activities in the communities
In fact since April we have been starting the
project “Community Health and Economic Stability” in partnership with World
Hope Canada and financial support from CIDA of canada.
We organized numerous visits to villages to negotiate with existing or new associations, obtain their agreement to elect women into leadership, obtain rights to use sizable surfaces, 1 to 4 ha, and last but not least clear the land and plough.
We organized monthly meetings to conscientisize our community mobilizers about the agricultural activities, including the need to follow scientific rules to improve productivity, moreover we started to prepare our health and nutrition activities. In July we went to Kinshasa to meet our Canadian partners and take charge of the new vehicle for the project.
Starting August we began the control of the preparation of the fields and distribute cassava cuttings of ameliorated variety as well as seeds. We followed up until about 10 October and the 40 associations are reported to have successfully planted. Also the Butoke field was ploughed for 6 ha and replanted with cassava and beans. To the amazed gaze of everyone the plowing was done with a tractor we hired as time was pressing. Since October all the fields are manually weeded.
The agricultural activities went very well and have created a good base for the nutrition, health and human rights activities that will follow in the same villages.
End August we had serious security problems in Tshikaji where we had all our orphans. So the decision was taken to move all the 20 kids of primary school age to Kananga to the spacious home of Dr Jean’s family and send them to a nearby private school, so that we can easily supervise the kids at home, at school. We moved also the solar energy system with them. It serves the double purpose giving light at night and electricity for computer and telephone used by Dr Cecile mostly. In these difficult times autonomy in electricity is of paramount importance.
The move of the small orphans has been successful and attracts attention of children in trouble in SNEL and Nganza communities that are nearby. We integrate them sometimes temporarily and permanently for some of the worst cases.
The bigger 15 resident children and about 40 children that depend for food and schooling on us remain in Tshikaji and are also doing well. As food shortage deepens both because of seasonal variation and macro-economic disturbance linked to the war we have more hungry children that present themselves here too. As the seasonal misery is deepening numbers of children goes up. We seek to care for the worst cases but we pray to have more resources on a predictable basis so as to expand our action, especially so that orphans can go to school and find food 3 times a day.
The renovation of building of the orphanage in Tshikaji is progressing thanks to FOB UK. The improvement is much appreciated.
Musue Bantu since April participates in the project for Community Health and Economic Stability.
First and foremost this has entailed taking part in the baseline survey which confirmed that only a minority of 20 percent of illnesses are at present cared for by trained health workers and preparing written documents to be used in the community based activities.
The curative activities have picked up both for paying patients and for indigents since August. It is a combination of factors that seem responsible: we entered the rainy season with its epidemics of malaria, typhoid fever, respiratory infections, our workers visiting the villages discovered various emergencies going uncared for and referred them, and the increased activity became its own publicity. More recently we provided a bigger variety and volume of drugs and the assurance of finding good quality drugs in the center at lesser cost than in the market rather than having to run around the town is adding to the attractiveness of the clinic. June, July we were having as before about 25 to 35 a month, for August 50, for September 90. for October it is 99 and in November we have 101. Total patients 340 of which 210 are females. Ambulant patients were 232 and hospitalized 147. Among the ambulant patients 54 received free care and among the hospitalized there 46 with free care.
Visit to Butoke
Adrienne Scott and Jeannine White from FOB USA visited with us during 4 days end September during this very difficult and risky time . We admire their courage and dedication. It was a joy to have them with us and feel their love and compassion for the orphans and patients as well as their admiration of the agricultural work accomplished.
AUDIT and Spot check
UNICEF demanded an audit of Butoke so as to certify us for future activities, we have not yet the final report from KPMG but we know after a week of controls, 29 October to 3 November 12, no financial irregularities were noted, we also learned UNICEF has changed the administrative rulings and if we work again with them we will need to develop an administration similar to the multinationals. UNICEF itself came for a spot check, a kind of rapid audit, and came to the same conclusion.
We send you the greetings of all the orphans. May God protect and guide the Congolese people
Addendum of Dec. 18 – Christmas Greetings
Dear brothers and sisters,
It is 18 December within one week Christmas. For the people of the Democratic Republic of Congo, the year has gone by in endless struggle to understand what is happening to the nation, to figure out how to make ends meet today, how to keep faith, how to meet tomorrow with hope. Many do not succeed and linger in dumb indifference to their own lot and that of the others, some explode in anger.
Butoke has been very active and reactive to the emergencies that arose all around. The visit planned for end September and October to UK and Belgium had to be cancelled as we felt our absence might entail catastrophes
We had just signed a contract for a new project in partnership with World Hope and support of CIDA.. In July, August and September we worked with the village associations developing fields of manioc and beans, while the health center Musue Bantu was flooded with emergencies, mostly of children in decompensated anemia and women with reproductive complications.
We wish you Joy and Peace for Christmas and the New year and ask for your prayerful support for DR Congo and Butoke.
In his love
Jean and Cecile