Yesterday, Nganga was going to arrest the infamous cock, the one that crowed loudly and incessantly and destroyed our sleep one night a few weeks ago. We overheard the objections of the cock when the owner was about to enforce the judgment last night. This morning, we understood that the long arm of the law hadn´t managed to catch the little culprit. Early in the morning, the cock was crowing again but he was somewhat subdued. Perhaps he had understood that “mondele” was visiting again, and that he´d better lower his voice. Otherwise, there could be a new arrest warrent today, since we were staying another night.
In my spare time, I have given private lessons in how to use a computer. My wife Kerstin and I give computer courses at home, and we have documented the most useful skills. They come into use here too. Actually, I swap computer lessons for lessons in how to peel peanuts, an essential and basic skill that every Congolese learn in infancy. The peeling is performed with such precision and speed that the body absorbs the energy needs of several hours ahead. When I peel peanuts, the energy consumption is equivalent to the energy supply of the peanuts, i.e. a zero-sum game. Practice makes perfekt, and I will hopefully become more efficient.
In Kimpese, there are a lot of “mondele”. We have met a group of eleven Swedes, from Mölndal and Gothenburg. We joined them for a ceremony at the IME hospital, when they presented equipment for the hospital. Dr Roger Mahema told us a little about the hospital. It has 400 beds, 275 employees of whom 18 are physicians and 5 are medical students. He himself is an ophthalmologist and also the deputy manager of the hospital.The hospital is self-financing, they get no funds from the state.
After the ceremony we had a meeting with Emy Miantezila, a man with many strings to his bow, his son David, agronomist and his sister Luzolo, English teacher. All of them speaks English. We talked about family farms, a topic we have touched on before. There are vast areas of land all over Congo that no one uses. Emy has looked into the possibility of leasing or buying land. Both options are available. You can apply for the legal ratification of the acquisition of property, and you can apply for the registration of one’s title to the legal ratification. This autumn, we plan to give an entrepreneurial course together. Primarily, the course will be directed to farmers here in Kimpese. Emy will pick out suitable candidates.
I brought up the question of the new but unusable SAME tractor we had seen yesterday in the village Kiwelo. I asked Emy how a new tractor can stand idle like that? The reason is the mentality of the owner, Emy answered. His foresight extends to a day at a time. The profit he has made from leasing the tractor to other farmers, he has spent on other things than maintenance. And when the tractor needs to be repaired, there is no money for the reparation. Charity is great, but the knowledge and the skills in running and maintaining things has been in short supply. No one on earth can know what he hasn´t learned. Knowledge transfer and follow-ups are necessary for the charity to turn into something useful.
Two people have affected me today. One of them was a women at the IME hospital. She was maybe in her 50´s, and she had two legs like most of us, but they were paralyzed. She sat outside on the the cemented walkway, and she moved herself around with the strength of her arms and hands. With her, she carried some cans and a pot. She pleaded for help, especially when she saw all us “mondele”, but none of us showed her any helpfulness. Three caretakers in rubber boots and gloves came and carried her away. This scene was strange, and very moving. The other person who made a deep impression was a young boy, maybe eight years old. He came walking into the yard outside when we were discussing family farming with Emy, David an Luzolo. When Emy saw him, he called out “Makise, Makise!”. The boy came inside, to the class room where we were sitting, he sat down at a desk and fell asleep. During the whole meeting, Makise was asleep. We asked Emy who he was, and Emy told us that he is one of the street children that goes to Emys school. His parents might be dead, or something might have happened that dissolved the home. Obviously, he does not have what every child is entitled to, a home and a family. Maybe he has never sat in the lap of his mother or father and felt their love for him, maybe he has never had anyone read him a story or say evening prayers together. Everybody, both children and grown-ups, needs love and solicitude to live and develop into well-balanced people. Makise was another person who touched me today.