Saturday, October 24, 2009

New Friends

             (l. to r.) Greg, me, Danielle, Roger, and Scott at Swedish Mission

I always stay at the Swedish Mission when I'm in Bukavu because it has a peaceful spirit and beautiful garden, and I always meet interesting people there.

This past week brought Danielle Shapiro, a free lance journalist from New York City, and two urology surgeons, Greg and Scott, from University of Chicago Medical School.  The surgeons came to share their surgical expertise and, in turn, gain more experience treating fistulas from Dr. Mukwege at Panzi Hospital.

Danielle came to document their journey and ended up with 4 or 5 more stories as she learned about life in Congo. To my good fortune, I was able to accompany her on several interviews. Roger, probably the best interpreter in Congo in my humble opinion, came along to translate.

We visited the construction site of City of Joy, V-Day Foundation's project to house and train 100 women survivors of sexual violence. Construction began mid-September and is scheduled for completion mid-March, weather permitting.

Danielle spoke with Christine Deshryver, the project manager, while I took photographs. First of all, the site is huge. Bricks, sand and rock are piled high, waiting to metamophose into buildings. At least half of the 10 buildings to house the women have walls up; elsewhere foundations have been laid for offices, guest suites, and classrooms. There will be a large garden area with trees and flowers planted throughout the complex. It's a  massive undertaking, and it seems to be progressing well . . . I was impressed.


Men and women construction workers at City of Joy building site.

With love and gratitude,

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