On the way to Kimbanseke, George wanted a picture his favorite innovative vehicles......
Have you ever see a retro-fitted motorcycle & trailer combo?
|A old beat up taxi with seats taken out and board benches placed inside can hold up to 24 people. The concrete you see is what is left of a 50 yr old Belgian-made median and "sort of" marks the middle of the road.|
|Can you imagine how heavy the load on this "pus-pus" is? Also, in the picture... used furniture or similar things are often displayed for sale outside. I'm not sure what they do when it rains.|
|It seems as if every other store in the Congo is a "Pharmicie". I guess the owner of the "pus-pus" stopped for something. This picture also shows a common sight, a vehicle whose wheel is off.|
|Whatever it takes. Congolese will buy old European vehicles and use them until you think they can't run anymore.|
|The Liberté Marché stretches out for blocks & blocks. An outdoor Walmart that sells everything.|
On the left is a display of costume jewelry. On the right, cassava... the leafy plant that is the staple food of Africa, packed into and on the loaded van.
|George captured the attention of this young girl who got a big kick out of him and "posed".|
|This little sweetheart was the first to greet me at the orphanage. She is one of four children who will be adopted by Americans this month.|
|Some of the children holding up a few of the food items we brought. Curious neighbors and passers-by pause to watch.|
|Here is where it starts to get hard. THIS is their school room...ancient shelves, pitted and dirty concrete walls and a piece of corrugated tin over a three-sided dank and dark room.|
|Yet, look at these precious, happy faces...|
|Don't complain about our blackboards. This is theirs... a concrete wall painted black.|
|Our little cutie was the first to get in line for George to lift up high off a wall. |
Notice the curious young men who were walking by watching in the back.
|I'm not sure who enjoyed this interaction more.. the kids or George! |
He is so incredibly sweet with little children (one of the reasons I love him).
|The wall dividing the property from the neighbor on one side was formidable with broken glass bottles on top. They have probably been there for decades & decades.|
|When I got close, it was if this guy knew I was there and he struck a pose.|
|I could hear him saying, "Wait a minute.. THIS is my better side!"|
|Here is the "bathroom" for all the children... It is nothing but a hole in the concrete and a door that won't even close. We are working on a way to get a proper latrine built.|
|Papayas on the left and green bananas on the right.|
|Philomene called all the children to gather at their chairs and they quickly and obediently did so. Wouldn't every teacher we know just love to have such a good group?|
|Then, she asked them to sing one of their favorite Primary songs, which they sang sweetly. \|
When they were deciding which song to sing, I said, playfully..."I guess they don't know, 'Once There Was a Snowman!" :P
|Such beautiful children|
|Philomene is saying goodbye to Fils (who isn't praying.. he often puts his hands together when speaking) & to Elder Stagg|
|As we left, we had to walk down the narrow, well-traveled, village path that also runs right through the grounds of the orphanage. To the right is a ditch of filthy, debris-filled water.|
|I watched him until he disappeared down the lane & thought, again about the ability of children to make the best of life, even in humble circumstances.|