Preparing for the trip to Congo

A year ago, we started planning the trip to Matadi. At the same time, the congregation in Mukimbungu started to make plans for the inauguration of their new church. They decided it would take place the first Sunday of October 2010. A group from Rimforsa Mission Covenant Church was going to attend the event. When we heard about this, our first thought was to join them. We wrote to GCSL and asked if the building of the Youth House might be completed by the second Sunday of October. Almost immediately, they answered that the building should be finished by October 9th and that we were welcome to the inauguration.

Later, it turned out to be better if our two groups travelled separately. The MSG travellers are: Lennart and Barbro Fridén, Bernt and Renée Sköld, Hugo and Ritva Rikkinen, Lars-Ola Rydberg, Yngve and Kerstin Håkanson. Jenny Håkanson, who is travelling from Chile will join us in Kinshasa. There are ten of us all in all.

Happily, we have seen that the Youth House building construction has stuck to the timetable. In our photo album on the website you can see that the house is nearly finished. At the moment they are painting the house.

On May 2nd we met Edi Diafuanakana, the head of CEC, which is the sister church of the Swedish Mission Covenant Church. We informed him of our trip. Edi has been to Sweden on several occasions, and he speaks Swedish. He sent us the invitation to Congo, and officially, we will be the guests of CEC. To be invited is one condition to get a visa to Congo. Furthermore, you need to have a guarantee from your hosts that they will take care of you, should anything unexpected happen. We have been vaccinated against yellow fever, hepatitis A and tetanus. And we will have to take malaria-, cholera- and diarrhea medicine before, during and after the trip. Lennart and Barbro are going to Stockholm on September 8th. They will bring our visa applications and leave them at the Congolese Embassy on the 9th in the morning. They have been promised to get the visas on September 10th. It is a relief not to have to send our passports and visa applications by mail.

Bernt, Renée, Kerstin and I were in Karlskoga on May 12th at a Congo seminar. The topic was friend relations between Swedish and Congolese churches. Many lecturers talked of an enriching interchange both ways. Small scale projects and direct contact creates commitment.

On June 14th, Bernt and I met Matthieu to give him the details of our trip. Matthieu will meet us at N´djili, the Kinshasa airport, and be our guide in Kinshasa. On June 21st, the entire Congo group had a meeting. Among other things, we decided to learn about 50 common expressions in French. We went through visa applications and itinerary, and scheduled five more meetings before September 14th. At our meetings we have studied French with a girl from Rwanda, Générose, who has been tutoring us. We also use a French course on CD with a textbook.

We have decided to buy a Swedish and a Congolese flag, and a flag with the GSCL symbol on it, and bring them to the inauguration. We have also decided on an inauguration gift: a contribution to the procurement of furniture to the Youth House.

We have gone through the course material for entrepreneurs. We have the permission to use ALMI´s educational binder ”Business plan – a first outline”. Gunnel Olofson in Jönköping has translated the first part and Dia Nsumbu in Gothenburg is translating the rest to French. I will collect the material this week and send it to Yapeco. He is putting together two groups of entrepreneurs with five people in each. The 10 future entrepreneurs will receive the basics on how to start your own business. We will also introduce our business loan offer to them. This is a challenge. We´ll see if we´ll succeed.