Congo feels sometimes like a paradoxical combination of hopeless suffering and inspiring potential.
Joy and warmth as the women sway down the aisle in church,
despite the persistent struggle of mother who always seem to have at least 1 child sick with malaria.
Lush beauty of a valley filled with trees and the songs of tropical birds
Contrasts with erosion as a new ravine is formed and threatens homes
Eager children walk long distances to go to school,
and then often have extra obstacles to overcome like lack of materials, a school roof that leaks, or a family that can not afford the school fees.
Families who struggle to find the money for their next meal,
yet will give sacrificially of time and resources when a friend or neighbor is sick or in crisis.
People long on time, with great patience and perseverance,
Yet whose time does not often yield the means to support their family.
A culture of high respect for authority,
which then suffers silently under corruption and tyranny.
Passionate, persevering prayers seek out God’s help,
Yet then a fatalistic resignation to accept whatever happens.
A place with frustrating inefficiencencies from my Western view,
Where I am grateful for the flexibility and patience modeled around me.
I feel embraced by generous hospitality,
and then repelled by presumptuous demands.
Even the climate conflicts – the warm sun is accommodating and comfortable year round,
Yet it harbors those destructive tropical diseases.