The Ingas

Today, we made an excursion. At 9.00 am we set off for the Inga falls. Before getting up into the buss, we prayed for the day and for the trip. To the Congolese, prayer comes naturally. When you embark on new adventures, small or big, you pray for guidance and protection from God. Doing this infuses confidence, and work as a reminder of God´s keeping watch over us. Living standards in Sweden and Congo are obviously not comparable. In Congo, you are thrown upon your own resources to survive. Could this be the cause of the omnipresent prayer? It´s most definitely one element of it – when you can´t trust anything else you can always put your trust in God. But it´s not the entire truth. Even in Sweden, with all our welfare and social safety nets there are problems that cannot be abolished. From time to time, we experience littleness and helplessness too. Then, a close relationship with God and a prayer practice would give us quality of life.

Our expedition consisted of us Swedes, the pastors Damas Mangikulua, Axel Biongo and Paul Tekasala together with Samuel Nkailu and Muditu. We had to use an extra car in order to fit everybody in. The educational visit started with a lecture by the managing director of the Ingas, in a building with air conditioning and a stunning view of the falls. The power plant divides into two parts, Inga 1 and Inga 2. They were built in 1972 and 1982 respectively. In total, they can produce 1 775 MW. The Congo River is the second largest river in the world; 42 000 m³ flow by every second. Canadians have investigated the possibilities to make use of more of this tremendous natural force. Fully enlarged, the Ingas could produce 44 000 MW and supply power to vast parts of the African continent, maybe even export power to Europe. It struck me that Inga is a metaphor of Congo. Only a tiny part of all its human and natural resources are in use. The world must shoulder it´s responsibility and give the Congolses the tools they need to develop their country. In MSG we are trying to support entrepreneurial spirit. Our work is completely transparent, and every step is reported on the website. Our small activities are nothing but a drop in the ocean, but the ocean is evidently made up of drops. The ravages in Congo by the surrounding world have to be stopped.

On the way back, the police stopped us, which isn´t unusual. Almost every time we go for a drive we are stopped by the police. This time, our chauffeur probably was a little too cocky when the police asked to see his driving license, and the policeman got furious. Yapeco tried to bring him to reason, but he failed. Then, all the pastors came to the rescue and finally, the police let us go. We suspect that the police had hoped to extort some money from us white people, but this time it didn´t work. Another time we were stopped by the police, I shook hands with the policeman and said ‘Bonjour monsieur’. I guess he appreciated that, because he let go of us. ‘Bonjour Monsieur/Madame’, ‘Merci beaucoup’ and ‘Ça va?’ are presumably the most important phrases we learnt before coming here. They have bestowed much goodwill on us. It is important to learn the codes of the environment: ‘Mbote zeno’, ‘How do you do’ in kikongo, is another useful phrase.

Also, on the way back, the extra car got a flat tire. As the spare tire was flat too, we had to abandon the car and press everybody into the bus. There´s always room for a friend.