Pictures!

June 7, 2010

Here are some pictures I’ve posted lately:

Brazzaville

Ollombo, more around Brazza

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I may not be blogging much these days, but Hope Congo getting some press! Our first loans went out May 10, so this is an exciting time here.

We’ve had several visitors lately. Becky, Hope International’s Grant Writer, has been staying with me here in Brazzaville for three weeks now and has done a great job painting the picture of our operations here on Hope International’s blog:

http://blog.hopeinternational.org/

We also had a representative from Kiva here last week, training the staff on how to post clients on the Kiva site. She wrote about her time at Hope Congo here:

http://kivanews.blogspot.com/2010/06/hope-in-congo.html

You can also follow the link from that article to support a Hope Congo client through Kiva.org if you’re interested, or just go to Kiva.org and search by “Hope Congo”.

Pictures of Brazza

February 9, 2010

My colleague Brian takes really great pictures and keeps a blog, so I thought I’d send you over for some picts of Brazzaville:

http://www.1000hillsandariver.com/

Scroll down and there’s a post with pictures from our team’s trip to Kinshasa too — he was brave and took lots of pictures out of his pocket (pictures not so much allowed on the street there, so I don’t have any — these are rare!). And if you KEEP scrolling down — the gorillas in Rwanda are AMAZING. Wish I had been there to see them in person, but there are places to see gorillas in Congo too — I just have to find a four wheel drive vehicle and someone who can drive it to make it up there =)!

Hope DRC

February 7, 2010

These are a couple links to a couple of short videos that were filmed in Kinshasa late 2009 for Hope DRC. I was in Brazzaville by this point, but I love being able to share these videos for a couple of reasons —

1. They help explain what Hope does — what we’re here for — how God is working in people’s lives through Hope.

2. I was there! So, perhaps this’ll give you some idea of the place where I spent 6 months last year (Oct 08-Mar 09). It’s a busy, crowded, happening city! Sarah who appears in some of the videos is a good friend, Kathy was my supervisor in Kinshasa, Simeon is my country director here — this is the best I can do for an introduction to some of the people I work/have worked with =).


The embedding thing isn’t working out for me, so here are the links:

HOPE DRC
HOPE DRC: Receivers become givers

Bday fun

February 6, 2010

…only posted 2 1/2 months later =). Proof to my family that I was among friends and treated well on my birthday. We went out to a pretty fancy place in town called Corsica Inn for dinner, then finished with cake and games at Barb’s. It was the best chocolate cake I’ve had in Africa, and I was given some neat woodwork… a statue of someone reading made out of this gray wood that’s unique to Congo (to represent memorizing verses, which Barb, Brice and I have been doing together), and a creche that was made by kids at one of the orphanages we go to.

Dinner at Corsica Inn - Me, Anne, Jeremy, Sara, Brice (and Barb behind the camera)

Yummy yummy cake. Thanks Sara!

Long awaited news!!

January 26, 2010

Today was a day of much rejoicing in the HOPE Congo office — we were just finishing up a staff meeting this morning when Simeon (country director) got a call from the DGMC (ministry of finance here in Congo) that they had received word from COBAC (regional authority we’ve been waiting on) that our file was APPROVED!!! As many of you know, this is amazing news — we have been waiting for it for so long. We first submitted our file in November of 2008. The file made it through Congo’s gov’t and moved on to the regional authority around June 2009, and we’ve been waiting since then (waiting and of course pestering them a bit =)). We were told many times if we were willing to grease some fingers the file could probably go through pretty quickly, but we stuck to official procedures, believing that brings honor to God.

So, we are rejoicing, and I wanted you to be able to celebrate with us. Thanks so much to those of you who have prayed for our file to be approved. Praise the Lord! He hears our prayers and works all things out in His time. It’s been a trying process, but I know it’s taught me lessons in patience, perseverance, and faith in the Sovereignty of God. And there will be more challenges! …But this is a major hurdle surmounted, and thus a time of celebration. So, now we’re off — there are so many things we can do now that we’ve just been waiting for, and we hope to be up and running soon (there’s still a lot to do, but this frees us up in so many ways to get going)! Next prayer request is for the right staff members to come along — we’re doing first round interviews for both loan officer and accountant candidates this Friday.

THANK YOU LORD!!!

(This photo was taken outside the HOPE Congo office in November when several people from the DRC as well as our regional director were in Brazza. So, it was NOT taken today, but I feel the excitement level shown is appropriate to this day =). Woo hoo!!!)

Welcome to my home!

November 18, 2009

I would much rather have you over for dinner to show you my new place, but this will have to do. I’m settling in quite well, although missing the company of my roommate who got married a couple of weeks ago and moved out. I was really fun to experience my first Congolese wedding though! Now it’s just me, and the lizards, cockroaches and termites. The lizards can stay, the cockroaches I’m doing everything I can to get rid of, and the termites I have no control over. Nothing to do sometimes but to come to terms w/ their presence =).

Living room

Dining room

Kitchen

1/2 bedroom

Other 1/2 bedroom - where you sleep when you come visit me! (if you're a girl. guys you get your own room =)).

Un mois deja!?

October 11, 2009

Hard to believe I’m coming up on the one-month mark here already this week. Since I last wrote:

I got my guitar! It only took 3 trips to the airport, about 10 hours combined of waiting scrunched in between a lot of pushy sweaty people watching the baggage carousel go round, a couple of trips to the Air France office, and then the search for a new high E string as mine broke en route.

I’ve played Settlers, gone running, watched several episodes of Gilmore Girls… these things remind me of home and are good for my soul =).

I’ve found a (different) living arrangement! At the guest house I’m staying at there’s a room from my guest room into another girl’s apartment. Another girl (her name’s Jessica) who turns out to be really great, and has become a good friend (!). So, we opened the door between my room and her apt., and voila, two-bedroom apartment and I have a roommate. Until… two weeks from yesterday when she gets married and moves off the center and then I move into her apartment. This means several things for me: I get to pay a lot less than I had otherwise planned for housing, I have internet at home, more security, English speaking friends around if I need a break from thinking in and speaking French, a generator that runs several hours a day when the power’s out, and an English worship service Sunday nights that’s right outside my front door.

I’ve been going to a great church Sunday mornings that’s really excited to have Hope here! They called us all (the Hope staff) up 2 Sundays ago to pray over us. You should pray for us too, we STILL don’t have registration to operate here. There is lots to be done in the meantime, but the delays are discouraging and also an example of the corrupt system and the difficulties we’re going to have doing business here moving forward.

We’ve gotten our office ALMOST to the place where we can move in! Just getting some final grills up on the windows, and we’re there. Bring on the purchasing of furniture, printers, really everything to equip an office.We’ve met several times as a staff, had productive and unifying meetings in which we talked about our mission and vision, did some team building things, prayed over the office together. Pray we can learn to work together as a team though. We are coming from a lot of different cultures, backgrounds, and all have pretty different leadership styles. God can make all those things work together for His good, so pray we will be malleable in His hands.

And… a final area of concern… the city power’s been out where I’m at for a couple of weeks (other areas of the city still have intermittent power at least). The generator runs certain hours each day, but nights are HOT with no fans, so we sweat a lot and wake up tired =P. PLUS, our fridge doesn’t handle generator power very well, so after so many days of the generator being turned on and off, our fridge broke. Bummer. Not sure how that fits in but… mourn with those who mourn, right?

Miss you all lots. But I am thankful… God has provided me with a couple of new friends here, a great place to stay, internet to keep me connected, a couple of great groups of people to worship with, books from which to learn, and food to eat (even if a good portion of that has gone bad in the last couple days, I know where to get more). Keep in touch, would love to know what’s going on in your life!!!

The other Congo…

September 19, 2009

I’m back! On the blogging scene, and on the continent…

I stepped off the plane last Wednesday night to find myself in the same sticky hot air that I remember oh so well from just a few months ago. Except that now I’m in Brazzaville, which may be within eyesight of Kinshasa at some points, but it’s still quite a world away. The streets are less crowded, people are hired to clean up garbage (!), life moves at a bit of a slower pace, and I think there’s a bit more bounce in people’s steps.

Despite that, I’ve found myself already a surprising number of times missing Kinshasa — thinking that there I KNEW where to run, I knew where to get my veggies from and had a place to cook them, I knew which restaurants were good, the names of different areas of town, had an established office and home… and I had friends to enjoy those things with (those things took time, of course, patience is just not my strong-suit =) reminder to self: *wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD* Ps.27:14).

The last few days have been full of learning, as everything is new to me… I’ve spent 2 nights at one guest house and 1 at another, been to the airport twice (my guitar is still missing — it would be sure to come on Friday’s plane, they said… mm not so much), taken many many taxis, bought a cell phone, discussed and done a good bit of work stuff, and… a very exciting-to-me piece… found an apartment! God is good — that was my biggest concern coming in, that I would not have a home base… a place to feel settled and call my own. Eastern people, I think I scored pretty high on Gary’s “capacity to handle ambiguity” test, but it helps me so much to have one area of settled-ness in the midst of a lot of other unknowns. So, that was a big prayer of mine before coming as I’d heard apartments were extremely difficult to find. That is TRUE, but there are agencies (which you really have to go through, the fee you pay them will be requested from the owner anyway if you don’t use an agency) that have connections… their places tend to get snatched up w/in a few days though, so you have to act fast. Which, we did! I found a reasonably-priced place with a good view in an area right between Centre Ville and the area our office is in. It’s a new apartment building, just being finished — so it’ll be a few weeks, but I WILL have a place! Thank you LORD!

Living on this verse these days *So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand* Isaiah 41:10.

I found this really interesting…