Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Tuesday, and only two days left :(

Tuesday February 23rd, 2016

It’s just after 7am; I’m up having coffee watching the Makako (monkey) table him/herself up. Got up early to buy credit for the phone, as I need to get in touch with Mr. Yacuba before he leaves for Lubumbashi this morning. The network has been troublesome for the past few days, and it’s very difficult to get through- to anyone. So I sit here, and I write J
inside the TRP office :)
Yesterday was a very Very full day. I left before 9am and only returned around lunchtime after having been to UNHCR, the carpenter (got TRP a table and book shelf!), and UNICEF. In the afternoon I went to meet with Madam Sophie, the head of OCHA, and that was a never ending- extremely positive never ending- meeting! When I arrived at OCHA on my motortaxi from the office/kaka’s house, I had to argue with the driver as he was heckling me for the price…I told him, in Swahili that everyday I pay the same amount, and today was no different. Finally, he laughed and said that ‘you, Mzungu you know’ and we parted ways.  I was walked upstairs and greeted by Guy Marie (who had just returned from a weeks trip in Goma). We said our hellos, hugged and welcomed one another then he walked me into Sophie’s office of which, was bare. She was sitting outside on the balcony facing the lake and cool breeze.  She semi apologized for being outside but I immediately interrupted her and told her that I am from Redondo Beach and understand 100%- Sophie then looked at me in disbelief and told me she is from Manhattan Beach- I was flabbergasted. We literally are less than two miles from each other and here we are sitting in Kalemie in the DR Congo! WHAT A SMALL WORLD.
TRP's signage!!!!!! 
Originally from Napa Valley and with Ethiopian/Somali roots, Sophie is a well-spoken, intelligent and beautiful woman. She is warm, welcoming, passionate and more than furnished for her position. Our conversation literally could not, would not end. We talked about local and international issues, the current IDP situation, refugees, Somalia, Ethiopia, Congo, Zambia, Manhattan and Hermosa Beach, Libya, Uganda- it was unceasing. Finally we had to cut ourselves short and decided to continue over dinner on the base of MONUSCO (where she stays currently). They have a restaurant there and I wanted her to meet Ethan and Rocco.

So less than two hours later after a shower and some mama Tete errands, we were at MONUSCO with Sophie and one of her colleagues, Dan (originally from Belgium). What started around 7:30 didn’t end till almost 10:30pm :-o There are so many issues, thoughts on solutions, questions and projects- introductions and my oh my, both the possibilities and tribulations are endless. Working in Kalemie, and on the African continent in general bears walls not to mention the conditions, the security and the constant battle to get something done (like send an email?!).

That's our office table and book shelf!
We left with promises of keeping in touch and one another informed on upcoming and current projects. Our hope- yes, ‘our hope’, is to work on a solution to this current situation of the IDP’s both internally, locally and with the community at large. I propose a simple, informational- peace building- cohabitation film; one that can help breakdown these walls of concern, or this silly game of ‘telephone’ and clarify the REEL situation. A film that would incorporate the local authorities, entertain and all the while educate. So there many more meetings to have, conversations, introductions and follow-ups but we will get there, eventually. In the meantime, I have to work on our last two days here in Kalemie…

We walked into UNICEF yesterday, kaka and I, with no meeting or introduction.  Our hope was to meet with Madam Chantelle (head of education), or mama Rose (whom we met in the field in Nyunzu), but we ended up meeting with Madam Linda who is the head of protection. We spoke with Linda at great length about TRP, our Education Initiative and the potential partnership opportunity between TRP and UNICEF. She was welcoming, receptive and extremely helpful. As there is protocol for any form of partnership, for the time being (as we leave in two days…), Linda provided us with a list of local ‘ex-child soldiers’ whom are ‘vulnerable’ and need assistance with paying school fees.  UNICEF has a number of classifications to identify the vulnerable children, they are:
  • Former child soldiers (armed militia groups)
  • Orphaned children (deceased parents)
  • Unaccompanied minors (not sure of parents whereabouts)
  • Disabled children due to war (attacked by armed Militia, land mines etc…)
  • Mentally/Physically handicapped
  • Chronic illness

Linda then mentioned all of the partner organization that are working with these clusters, and offered to put us in touch, should there be any one cluster or identifier TRP was interested in supporting. I assured her that we wanted to help those in need- those whom need the most. Linda said that the former child soldiers often had the most trouble as if their school fees are not covered (and some are not just former soldiers but have also lost their parents and have been mentally and emotionally traumatized. So she furnished us with a list of 14 kids, and today it’ll be my job to get us to the school to follow-up on their whereabouts, status of fees- see if an interception needs to be had (for them to be able to finish off the school year) or what. In addition, I need to organize getting funds to Moba for the fees and exams for Kapondo and kids.

Yesterday we got our tickets for the boat; we got the very LAST ROOM! Ayyyyy
I have to speak with Doessen (AIRD) who just returned from Nyunzu with Nyembo and find out if he will allow Malela to travel with us to Uvira…furthermore I need to follow-up on the status of the latrines, if they are finished, close to being completed etc…
to all of you who supported
(and signed) the REEL Latrine Project :)
So as it’s already after 8:30am, I’m going to have to sign off and get the day started!
Off for now, I will try to send this off, or rather, upload today with a quick update.


ok, at UNHCR and they are going to assist me with a driver to take me to three of the 7 schools to visit and check-up on the vulnerable students so that TRP may assist with fees! Wish me luck as my Swahili is going into full swing today, lol. No help, no translator :(

Also, I cannot believe I forgot to mention, last night we had PIZZA for dinner @ MONUSCO, yes, PIZZA WITH CHEESE!!!!!!!! It was ridiculously good- probably because we were starving and haven't had cheese (or pizza) in forever but nonetheless, I REALLY want to go back for more tonight lol. Nothing like an $8 probably frozen (at one point in time) pizza lol!

bye bye!


  1. Looks like it is really coming together. Great job!

  2. Looks like it is really coming together. Great job!

  3. Great job Krista send my love to all, and Christsen