We started the day by paying a visit to the Matadi mayor, Nsompa Bulezi. He told us he´s a Christian and belongs to the Congolese Kimbangist Church. He knows Olle Alkholm in Sweden and he expressed his gratitude for what Swedes have done and do for Congo. We got the opportunity to tell him about MSG; what we have done so far and what we want to do in the future. We emphasized our ideas about the importance of entrepreneurship. ”Agriculture and fishing are areas of great possibilities”, he said. We handed over our binder ”Start your own business – a first outline”. Lennart gave him a folding rule folded into two pentagons to symbolize the first two groups of future entrepreneurs in Matadi.
We visited the burial ground for missionaries in Tundua, near by the Congo river. Samuel Nkailu accompanied us and led our devotions, talking about the sacrifices made by the missionaries when working in Congo. The burial ground is the final rest of American, British and Swedish missionaries. Wilhelmina Svensson from Tvärred is buried here. She was 29 years old when she died in 1890, and the cause of death was probably malaria. About 50 missionaries from the Swedish Mission Covenant Church died during the first decades of missionary work in Congo. Wilhelmina was the last one to die in a group of three nurses who had gone out in 1888. She was on her way home when she died. We came to the burial ground at noon. It was very hot and the path there went up and down rocky hillsides, consequently we were streaming with sweat. In spite of the ordeal, we had no reason to complain considering the hardships of the early missionaries. Many of them had to give up their own lives when they were young. The Congolese who know the history thank God for them.
The inauguration of the Youth House was next.* The guests were supposed to arrive in order of precedence. The later you arrived, the higher your rank. We were going to come just before the mayor, who was the most distinguished. To our contentment, our rank was deemed high. In the end, we were summoned about an hour later than the stipulated time. The delay was due to extensive preparations at the Youth House. We are staying close to the Youth House, and we could walk the short distance to get information on when we were to appear. About 100 persons were gathered when we finally made our appearance. It was a pleasant surprise to see how nice the house looked. And the people were so beautiful, dressed in bright colors. Muditu was in charge of the inauguration ceremony, Samuel held a long speech, and two choirs sang. We were standing outside during the first part. Luckily, we got to stand in the shade. The heat was tangible and we were dripping with sweat, but the atmosphere was wonderful.
I had the honor of cutting the ribbon, a large wide blue ribbon. I started by saying ”Good afternoon, dear brothers and sisters” in Kikongo: ”Bakundi bami bazola, bampangi ye bibusi, mbote zeno”. The Congolese answered ”Mbote zeno” and cheered. I cut the ribbon, and declared the Youth House and the House of the Future in Ville Haute in Matadi duly inaugurated: ”Mu diadi tweti samuna mbiekolo a nzo a bantwenia ye nzo yawakuntuala ku Ville Haute, Matadi”. In the name of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit: ”Mu nkumbu a Se, ye Mwana ye Mpeve Yanlongo.” After this, the cheering became deafening. Metaphorically speaking, it lifted me 2 meters off the ground. Thank you, Alice Sandblom and Josef Nsumbu for instructions in Kikongo.
Before anyone could enter the building, I was instructed to pour water on the ground in front of the entrance. When the people had been seated inside the Youth House, I held my inauguration speech, translated by sister Inga-Maj**. The choirs sang and dramatized biblical stories. Bernt presented the Youth House with an inauguration gift from Gudrun och Lasse Yngvesson. Hugo presented a little boy with ten footballs for the Youth House. Lars-Ola gave 75 gold, silver and bronze medals and Lennart gave GSCL a Swedish table flag, also meant for the Youth House. The night was concluded with a joint dinner consisting of meat, chicken, fried bananas and manioc, and lots of Fanta, Sprite and Coca Cola. There weren’t knives and forks enough for everyone and many of us ate with toothpicks or with our hands. The first thing we got to do before dinner was to wash our hands in soap and water. Three people were in charge of the washing. The spirit of community continued on into the compact darkness of the African night. This inauguration certainly gave us ”knallar” from the North deep impressions. What joy and spontaneity!
*The programme of the inauguration is published on our website.
**The speech is published on the website.