From heartbreak to hope
I am very fulfilled to tell you that we are moving forward with our assistance and empowerment to those in need in DR Congo.
Following my trip to this region and due to recent attacks in the area we have decided to move forward in the following ways:
From a medical perspective:
We hired op medical staff to increase our medical capabilities in this area. Recent attacks in the past week have killed 39 people and brought hundreds who are wounded to our area. Therefore, GRI will be increasing our medical presence by setting up a clinic to treat the wounded, the malnourished children we are feeding, their families and the 3,500-4,000 displaced Pygmy people in this area. They are very skeptical of medical care and tablets as they are used to natural herbal remedies they found in the jungle/forest where they lived for generations. We are very glad they agreed to allow us to help medically, with malnutrition and with an agriculture project.
In regard to malnutrition:
We are still feeding 58 children and their mothers in varying capacities dependent upon their severity of malnutrition. Some kids are receiving formula, others are receiving regular food and/or Plumpy Nut bars, which are densely packed nutrition bars specifically for malnutrition. The majority of these children are gaining appropriate weight and growing in height. We have one 4 year old boy who has meningitis and is not doing very well. With formula feeding, through his nose, and IV antibiotics we are praying he will pull through. We continue to receive a few new cases of malnutrition each month but hope we have helped those most severe in this area. The food situation is very scarce among the general population, so last week we began to distribute hoes, rakes, spades, watering cans and seeds (beans, rice and green vegetables that we don't really have a name for here in America) to the mothers of children in our feeding program and also to pygmy leaders. They are very excited about having a sustainable source of food. Once these crops are ready to harvest we can safely discharge some of the children from the program, knowing that they can be fed adequately from home.
Those words bring joy to my heart. This primitive people group, mostly illiterate, has continued over the past two weeks to request our help, which is quite shocking considering how skeptical they were previously. So when we told them that we would train 15 of them to be medics and help their population they were thrilled! These medics will be trained in community health, hygiene, triage and medication compliance. They will learn about communicable diseases and how to prevent them in their settlement areas where the conditions are very poor. Also when I was there, I asked for a few pygmies to be tested for Tuberculosis (TB) and they tested positive. The medics will visit these people daily to ensure they are taking their medications properly as is essential for the treatment of TB. We will send pictures once these medics are chosen and ready to be trained. How exciting!
So that is the summary. There are many needs and continuing attacks by rebels in the area so more people are coming to us for help. Please pray for safety for these people and hope knowing that God loves them and has not abandoned them.
ver the next 8 weeks or so, we will be conducting a major campaign for this project, with the hope of securing its future. We will be sending you some great stories of victories, and profiles of all those serving and taking risks for their people.
We could use your help specifically with purchasing medications and supplies for our clinic. We have one-time costs of $5,000 to purchases supplies and equipment and then we need to increase our monthly budget for this project by about $5,000 per month over the next 3 months. Would you join us in helping to meet these urgent needs one time or monthly?
On behalf of those we serve,