2012 04 Klara à Kinshasa
JET'News n°3 de Klara à Kinshasa en République Démocratique du Congo
Mboté Na Bino! (Good day to you!) Bozali Malamu? (How are you?)
Here is my third letter. I can’t even believe it, that half of my journey is already over. After three months I can finally say that I have a fix program (more or less), so I can tell you what I am actually doing here!
The girls’ centre
I spend most of my time here. The opening ceremony was on Women’s day. Here in Congo this is a very important holiday, so you definitely have to dress up! In the schools all the girls buy the same material, and make dresses and the boys have shirts made for themselves. In the picture, you can see the children of on the families of the commmunity. As you can see, appearence is very important here. They might be living in a shed, but the women can still dress up as they are coming from the Palace. Perfect hair, perfect clothes…
Even the mayor came and gave a touching speach, reassuring us of his gratitude and support. He told us if there were a problem with a woman who uses little girls for prostitution we should go to him and he would help us. He forgott to say though, that here to prosecute someone you have to pay a big sum, and you never know how much more it will cost you for that something should happen in the end. There are several woman like this. Even the police know them but they don’t do anything about it.
You can see the team of the centre in the picture. Marie-Noëlle, the Mauritien sister is the supervisor with Rose, the Ivorian sister on the left. Eyenga and Rachel are the Congolese educators who do the visits with the families, Maman Eliza, who cooks for the girls, Champion who is responsible for the security and discipline. By the way he comes from the streets himself. I was a little bit afraid of him the first time I saw him, since he is very huge, but I have never seen a more gentle and kind person in my life. And he cares for the girls very much, his experience helps us a lot. On his left, Papa Philip who is the guard every night. Marthe, the french girl (JET) is a special educator, and I am responsible for the activities and surveillance 2-3 times a week.
Monday we sat down to have our weekly meeting in the morning, but suddenly 10 girls arrived. So we did the listenings and two girls could already sleep there that night. Things are developping slowly, sometimes it is spontaneous who sleeps in the centre, or stays there during the day. But it somehow always works out. We have already reunited 7 girls with their families. Not all cases are easy though, there are several girls who quit the centre. It is difficult for a girl who has lived for a long time in the streets to suddenly become organized, well behaved and not go out into the streets at all. Sometimes they leave, but the next day there are always new ones who arrive. Some stay for two days, some for two weeks. Last week, we had three girls: Sephora, Benedicte and Dorcas.
All of them new to the streets. You wouldn’t think how easy it is to get turned out for a kid here. For me, it is unimaginable, but it happens every day. One of them is an orphan, who lived with her sick grandmother. Other older girls from the streets forced her to leave the house and work for them. Eyenga told them to stop, hopefully she scared them off, but she will need to be visited regularly. The other one was sent to buy salt, but she lost the money and didn’t dare to go home. Here it often happens that children are sent away because they steal an amount of 500-1000 franc (1$). All three of them are already in their families. I have spent one day with them. We played, did some drawing, read stories, etc.
Naomie has been reunited as well, she spent two weeks in the centre. Eventhough she didn’t speak French we had some great laughs togerther!
Little Dorcas is only ten years old, seems completely harmless, but she has already lived 3 years in the streets and knows how to protect herself and gets what she wants. She was the boss between the girls in the centre. Sadly she left early, but the educators continue to work on her reunification and she often comes to visit and talk. Eventhough she can be very difficult (which is understandable) she loves to play. It is great to see her become a little girl again for a few minutes.
She is not the only one who comes to the centre often. Lots of girls come for help. We can not give them a place to stay but we listen to them and help with the mediation with their families. Some even come with their babies.
They can visit the nurses who work at the boys centre for medical help. If we would keep the older ones as well, the hierarchy of the streets would rule int he centre and the little ones wouldn’t be safe.
Once a week I give English courses for two classes which I enjoy a lot. The problem is that they learn all the definitions, but after that they can’t speak. So I try to teach them how to communicate, we talk about everyday subjects and have a lot of fun. Their thirst for knowledge is incredible and they are so enthousiastic they don’t want to let me go at the end of the lesson. It is a little hard to make them come on time but once they are in the classroom the courses give me a lot of joy. Somebody asks me every week if I am married, and offers to find me a Congolese husband !!
This is a initiatie from the Chech Republic. Some people pay the tuition of children in need and the kids send them letters telling them about their life here. Maman Marie is the responsible of this organisation and she takes me with her everyday to visit these children and see how they are doing. I am not very useful here but it is a great experience to see so many families and I learn a little Lingala as well. This is more like social tourism!
I haven’t even written about the mission with the young people of Kinshasa. I think I’ll keep it for next month ...
Have a blessed Easter!
déposé le 12 avril 2012