Saturday, May 14, 2011
Well it's day 13 and settling into Moba has been quick, mainly due to the amount of work we jumped into upon arriving! Turns out our Pweto-Moba trip was a full 21 hours, 3 trucks later, one flat tire, a fuel pump and a clutch repair...needless to say I am still covered in bruises and my head is STILL jumping! We left Pweto at 6am, arrived at the 'junction, i.e. half way point to Moba at 12pm and waited there for the Moba driver to arrive which took an additional hour plus. When he arrived we set off only stopping a few times to add 'clutch fluid' upon arriving in Pepa 3/4 way to Moba...the truck broke down completely. Clouds started to roll in and we were IN THE BACK of the truck OPEN bed. So within minutes we slapped the tarp on and waited...sun started to set and we hadn't eaten since the afternoon before. Pepa is an old agriculture/farming town. They were hit hard by the conflict and just started rebuilding in the past few years. Moral of the story: there is nothing there; still. One restaurant (a house that has written in pain on the outside wall: Restaurant), we woke up the owner and begged them to cook us some noodles ;-) We got the truck to move in first gear and made our way up the slippery mud road to the ACTED house (ngo), there we parked the truck and walked to the 'restaurant' guided by the moonlight. After waiting almost 2 hours for our noodles, we returned to the ACTED house and waited for our pick up. In front of the house is a slate of bombed out old buildings and an old dilapidated tank (hit by the war and never repaired). A lot of the walls in the buildings are covered in bullet holes and writings/drawings of soldiers, french, english and local languages. To be honest, it's really creepy. We took some photos and decided best to leave. The truck arrived by 1030pm and we were loaded up and on our way to Moba- finally! Within the first twenty minutes our driver got lost, we got stuck and had a flat tire!!! The roads are bad; really bad. We reached Moba just after 2am. WOW. Now that was a record! lol
I finally got to sleep around 4am and was up at 730am preparing for our first round of loan recipient meetings (which went on till mid afternoon...). We've been doing this everyday.
On Monday we start the group meetings in Moba Port. There are 18 groups of 5 (90 people) and 24 groups of 5 here in Moba/Kirungu (120 people). Plenty more are trying to sign up for a meeting so they can apply for a loan however, The REEL Project is now known as the Micro Credit NGO :-/ We also have not been able to raise enough money to support even half of these groups and we are torn on who and how to choose the best one(s).
Today is Saturday and thankfully we had only a half day of meetings, it's about 230pm and Marisa and I are going over (and over) budgeting and operational stuff....boring but needs to be done :(
Tonight we have been invited to CVT's house for dinner (Center for Victims of Torture, NGO). Last night we had head of UNHCR and MONUC over for dinner and discussed potential future projects, collaboration and the IDP situation in Kalemie and surrounding areas. I kind of took advantage of MONUC being there because they have the helicopter and fly up to Kalemie twice a week. I planted the idea of getting us on the flight for the 3rd of June ;-)
Well Internet is slow and takes FOREVER to upload photos but I'm trying to include a few here... signing off for now, until next time.