Monday, September 12, 2016

Crisis in Kasai

A few weeks ago, a conflict erupted between a tribal chief and government military near the city of Tshimbulu, about 70 miles from Kananga. Many people were killed – the estimates range between about 30 to more than 150, including both military and civilians in the village. Homes and schools in the village were destroyed, and many people have fled. As people fled the violence and families were separated, many unaccompanied children were brought to Kananga and temporarily housed in the Kananga jail (which is already overcrowded and has deplorable conditions). Several organizations, including Ditekemena (or the Hope project for street chidren) were asked to temporarily care for some of the children while they await reunification with their families. This conflict did not make the international news, and we did not hear of it until a few colleagues told us. If you want to read a local French report, it is at

If you have been following the progress, of the 23 children originally with the program since 2014, 11 children have been reunited with their families, one new child was added, and now 13 await reintegration with families. The process is slow as they seek to provide follow-up and adequate support for families who are welcoming back their child. When this recent crisis arose, the CPC (Congolese Presbyterian Church) leadership agreed that Ditekemena could temporarily care for these displaced children, but the program is already stretched thin with resources.

Ditekemena - Betty and Andre with familyFrancois, one of the Ditekemena staff, visits the home of Betty and Andre
after they have been reunited with their father. Their mother has passed away.

Would you please pray for all of these children, for them to know God’s love and provision in the midst of this crisis. Pray also for Pastor Manyayi and the other caregivers, for discernment, love, and sensitivity as they care for the chidlren and look for the right situations for all of them. Ditekemena is in need of funds to care for these children, including for food, education, and the process of placement with families. If you would like to help wtih financial support, you can do so by either sending a check or donating online. Please read through all the steps to ensure it gets to the right place.

To donate online: 1. Go to
                             2. Choose the option on the right (give to Presbyterian Community of Congo)
                             3. When you enter the payment information, there is a ‘comments’ section.
                                 In the comments box, enter “CPC/Ditekemena program for street children”
                             4. Let us know that you have donated so we can alert our colleagues in Congo.

To donate by mail: 1. Write a check to Presbyterian Church (USA) or Presbyterian World Mission
                              2. Put “E864116 – Ditekemena” in the memo
                              3. Mail it to: PO Box 643700, Pittsburgh, PA 15264-3700
                              4. Let us know that you have donated so we can alert our colleagues in Congo.

1 comment:

Dan and Jeanne said...

Hi Bob and Kristi,

Just this morning, I was thinking of writing a FB post about my tattered "Babula Cookbook" and how it has traveled with us in Congo, Nigeria, Indonesia, and Thailand and how it's still one of the handy things on my shelf! And when I googled it, I found your blog!

Dan and I served with Mennonite Central Committee in Katanda and then Mbuji-Mayi from 1989-1994. Our second son, David, was born in Kananga. Since then, we've continued to live in many other international settings, but Congo remains forever dear in our hearts. I long to improve my French and Tshiluba skills, which have been displaced by other languages, so that we can again be of use in Congo. I look forward to reading your blog and to hearing news of a place that I care about deeply. I am glad you are blogging. Your book is already written!

Do people still go to Lake Munkamba for vacation?

Jeanne Zimmerly Jantzi