Dear friends of Butoke, 19th June,2013
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Hearty greetings. The period from 1st March, to beginning June has been particularly in turmoil nationally, institutionally as well as personally. Rather than sending you a report written afterwards, we let follow notes written as we struggled on.
30 th March, 2013
The week before Easter was particularly turbulent and troublesome in Congo in general and Butoke in particular .The country around us was in a multisector turmoil of disease, rebellion, distrust and secrecy and persecution. A chief rebel surrendering to the CPI, banks failing ,governors being fired, rebels and official army raping women, police and army fighting each other, telephone networks failing and recovering temporarily,
Key members of Butoke, including Dr Jean Lumbala and myself, several agronomists and nurses fell ill with malaria and flue, typhoid in various combinations, but struggled on to keep activities going. Next our immediate collaborators fell ill, but we somehow found the necessary help among the bigger orphans to keep going. Almost a case of extreme institutional survival in the turbulence.
In this context I meditated on the meaning of taking up one’s cross. I had so far thought it was being willing to sacrifice or even to being sacrificed, but it acquired for me a new meaning: notably being able to lose all control, including of one’s own body, losing all worldly points of reference and abandon oneself entirely to God’s control and capacity to transform failure into progress and peace, if we remain available to show His love and concern even when one has little or no means left, trusting He can transform the suffering into love’s triumph in a new awakening .
Tomorrow the liturgical calendar says it is Easter. Let us pray the joy of Easter will soon be here;
7TH April 2013
Easter has passed by most Congolese in hopeful prayer for peace in RDC. May God guide this nation into a new awakening that peace needs to be constructed upon a foundation of justice and love. Butoke continues its struggles to assist the population towards justice and be a witness of His love
· Butoke’s own forest field of 7 ha yielded 32 bags of peanuts. These are and have been the joy and the strength of our supplementation of the malnourished; The cassava is growing and will yield probably more than 400000 cuttings in late August or September
· The 40 village associations collaborating with Butoke finished harvesting for season A and are preparing for season B
· All our orphans took turns to be ill some several times, but none were severe cases. All finished their school exams of second trimester successfully
· Musue Bantu was inundated with patients often in very serious ill health.158 in February and 155 in March, 118 in April and 106 in May. In the last 3 months of which 223 free care for indigents and workers of Butoke and their families.
Tshikaji we admitted 33 severely malnourished during February and March among
which 5 adults and 28 children 0-10 years old, only the one of 10 years died
the second day of admission. All the others are on the mend or fully recovered.
We admitted also 20 moderately malnourished mostly siblings to the severe
cases; ( see pictures of recovery of the most severe case)
We illustrate here the case of Muamba admitted the day of the Canadian visit and recovered now at 12kg400 coming from 8 kg. He is 8 y old and has only the height of a 2 year old, but he is alive and two weeks ago he spontaneously started dancing, than running for the pleasure of it. He seems mentally very alert and wants to go to school coming year
· Our screening mid March showed that our collaborating village associations have still severe acute malnutrition. 8% for girls 1-5 years and 4% for boys, but that is still much less worse than in the general population where we found 24% for girls and 20% for boys
· Our agricultural survey showed also that association members apply in their family fields scientific principles learned from Butoke
· Last but not least Community mobilization for the activities in agriculture, nutrition, health and Rights of women and children are intensifying, including recruitment of girls needing a grant to be able.to take the certifying exam of end of primary school.
20th April 2013
· The social and economic situation continues to worsen. There is a general sense of insecurity. A significant number of intellectuals analyze and debate the situation in parliament and Radio Okapi which is UN sponsored .But one sees very little attempts to control and change any practices by authorities or bureaucrats.
· Four orphans came to us as survivors of a night of horror where their mother and father were butchered as well as three siblings. They were brought by an aunty herself very ill with abscess and gangrene of the left hand. All of them homeless and without resources, no intervention of the authorities.
· We hope and pray that the Holy Spirit will illuminate the people of good will in Congo and that those in the world who are economically linked to Congo see that the suffering has reached intolerable levels and needs worldwide action. In fact because of the minerals consciously or unconsciously worldwide economies are linked into the power struggles here and the resulting insecurity and extreme poverty.
· Today we learned that my pension has been cut since February as TIAA CREF seemingly suspected I had died, we can manage Butoke until the end of the month and work hard at establishing with them that I am alive as well as SOS individual donors we may soon need emergency help to feed everyone we are in charge of.
· Five more orphans joined us as the family of their deceased father accuses the children of having killed their father by witchcraft. Two kids are sickle cell anemia and one is malnourished
just received the news that FOB UK will sponsor 150 girls that otherwise could
not take the certificate exam of the end of primary school. We hope this strong
signal will make parents reflect on the
importance of girl’s education. We are identifying eligible girls who pass school exams
with at least 55% and lack the ability to pay the fee and acquire the
necessary accessories that are obligatory for the certificate exam. Total cost
per girl USD 25 in a country with yearly average income per person of USD 117.
It is a struggle as better than 59% of girls in 6th primary do not pass the school exams with at least 55% of points so on 6 schools we found only 63 eligible girls,. Maybe they gave up because of discouragement and our help to the diligent will encourage more effort by the girls in general. In the meantime we go to 5more schools and find more eligible girls.
· Last week of April we found in 11 schools 212 eligible girls and thanks to FOB UK increasing its contribution and some individual gifts we covered their needs for the certifying exam including debts to the school. They will take the exam 4th of June.
· The pension has not been restored, in fact all letters written receive only automated responses, but we have been able to take provisions in debt as well as liberate the nutrition center from all but 6 children that are still not fully rehabilitated. We give thanks that our lack of the pension has so far not wracked major harm, because of extra donations and local willingness to give us short term credit.
· Urgent call from Kinshasa on 11th May, the wife of Dr Jean has been one of the victims of a traffic accident in Kinshasa, we agree he needs to go and join her to assess what needs to be done for her as well as obtain from the Belgian embassy a proof of survival of myself. The financing of the travel needs to be based on debt. Return planned in less than a week so that Dr Jean can give guidance to the agricultural activities for season A.
· The demands of the schools of our orphans and other children in our charge have become incessant, especially since they have learnt that Dr Jean is in Kinshasa. I try to convince them that we will pay soon and pray that with God’s help they let the children in peace, for many schools humiliate and chase away children whose parents cannot pay in time. Happily I seem to convince them to let them take part in the upcoming exams.
This is the end of my notes. On 15th May I became ill, on 17th I had to be hospitalized with a gastro- enteritis and profound dehydration, semi conscious. We are grateful that IMCK admitted me and took good care of me without demanding the usual advance payment. On 23rd May Dr Jean managed to return from Kinshasa, after taking care of his wife and children and of my survival certificate. He now joined me and on 24th I was released from the hospital but weakened as I had not eaten nor drunk since 16th, nor sat up or walked any steps. Dr Jean was able to satisfy the hospital bill. Happily during my illness and his absence Butoke activities went on guided by our collaborators and since 23rd by Dr Jean; that is very good news.
· On 14 th and 15th June we had the joy of an extensive and intensive visit by Jimmy Shafe and 5 team members of Row (please see also pictures). Their interests were orphanage, nutrition center, clinic Musue Bantu, and the agriculture we practice for feeding everyone as well as potable water. On 14th and 15th I accompanied the visiting team and Dr Jean and functioned as translator part of the time. The visit was revitalizing for all Butoke workers and left the hope of expanded collaboration: 25 mattresses more for orphanage and clinic, river pump for the garden, possibly support to cap two springs in Tshikaji, where the only capped spring is in disrepair. This latter problem might have been responsible for my gastro-enteritis as both Dr Jean and I were unaware of its problems and had continued to use its water as if potable.
· 17th June we finally have received a partial transfer of the pension and can pay the schools of the orphans and state exam fees and the debts. What a relief………On 24th June we discover that the fees we paid were artificially inflated from free exam by the state, to 17500 FC imposed by the province for the benefit of examiners, to 70000FRC (about USD 80) by some schools. The money was extracted from the students under threat that those who could not pay would be barred from taking the exam. Dr Jean had paid for 3 of our orphans the excessive fees, he went to the exam center to protest and obtain that an orphan known to us was admitted after Butoke paid 17500 FC.Legal action for reimbursement of excess fees theoretically possible, was not tried as it would not find support of the teachers and even some of the victims.It might have closed the exam center and lack of access to the exam for all concerned. But the reflexion and discussion has been started and next year earlier action may prevent this scandal to be repeated.
We believe this running account of the last trimester may help you understand that Butoke has proven to have wonderful vitality which has permitted to continue its witness to God’s love under very difficult circumstances and protect all children in our charges as well as the indigent adults and even challenge society on justice for girls and indigents and above all continue its efforts towards development.
1. Designated gifts
Certifying exam end of primary school
FOB UK 27 April 2013 USD 3750,
3 May 2013 USD 2000
Community Health and Economic
World Hope 7 May USD 5000
9 May USD 15000
2. Non-designated gifts
a. FOB UK 4x USD 1100= USD 4400
b. FOB USA 5 April USD 891
17 April USD 992
23 April USD
29 April USD 990.75
4 May USD 894.75
11May USD 990.75
17 May USD 990.75
3 Juin USD 888
Total FOB USA USD 7830
c. Individuel Donations USD 12400
Total undesignated contributions USD 24.430
EXPENSES against undesignated contributions
ORPHANAGE total USD 10,800
Food USD 6300
Salaries USD 750
Hygiene USD 90
Schools USD 760
Medical care 2280
FIELD of BUTOKE 6Ha total USD 6820
Per diem of labourers USD 3200
Equipments USD 620
Food USD 2050
FREE Medical care illnesses that are not emergencies( not covered by CIDA) for of indigents and our workers and their immediate family 110 patients total USD 5010
Supplement to designated funds for certifying exam of primary school and secondary schools USD 950
NUTRITION REHABILITATION of 20 moderately malnourished (not covered by CIDA) grant USD 1800
GRAND TOTAL USD 24.230 with 200 in balance
Report on CIDA funds follows