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Category Archives: Africa Education

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Another way for you to make a difference…

Art news from our nonprofit. So proud of our students and staff. Click through to see the artwork!

Future Hope Africa Blog

Our in country director, Bintu, is always on the lookout for ways to improve the education of children, youth and adults in Bukavu, DR Congo. When she visited our home in Holland last year, we took her on a tour of the first-class international school our sons attend. Most of the decor in the school is student art blown up on huge canvases or framed originals. An idea was born.

An American artist friend here heard about our education center and asked, “What about art supplies? Could you use those?”

“Yes!” A generous gift of two stacks of stretched canvases went into my suitcase my next Congo visit, and now you can see some of the results. Small but delightful, these pieces are featured at our center to tell the world how proud we are of our students, the team that supports them, and how a little goes a long…

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Your #VBS vs. #Congo VBS Pt 2 – Facilities

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(Written by me and originally posted on our nonprofit’s blog)

Your Vacation Bible School:

– is probably run by your church or chapel and held at those facilities.

– the classrooms used are the same ones used for Sunday School and Life Groups.

– the tables & chairs are rearranged and everything decorated.

– the church kitchen is snack central.

– the sanctuary is the site for opening and closing ceremonies using the sound system.

– you pray for good weather so game time can be held outside in the grassy areas around your building.

This is how I remember VBS in the US, but it’s not like that in the Congo.

Vacation Bible School is actually a bit of a foreign concept in many parts of the world including east DR Congo. The churches do not put VBS together.

Bintu, our Operations Director, volunteered and worked many Vacation Bible Schools while attending international churches in Europe. She saw what a fantastic program this is for children, and returned to Congo determined to provide children there with this special summer time learning about God.

So it is not a church that does VBS, it is our very own Future Hope Africa folks who put this all together. Although we rent a small building from the church next door to use for our Tutoring Center, we do not have access to numerous classrooms. Our facility has only one room which can only be divided into two sections.

Facilities we often take for granted in the US and joyfully fill to capacity each summer aren’t available in Congo without going out into the community to find, negotiate the use of, and rent a place.

Previously we had to turn children away from VBS, because we just could not fit anymore in our building. This year our FHA team found a school willing to rent to us for a very small feel, because they’re willing to help support our summer program.

There are so few productive activities for the children of Congo when school is not in session. During my visit I saw no parks, no YMCA or recreation areas. In fact, the church and school next door to our Tutoring Center had no grass. Classrooms opened on barren ground and some of them had no doors. The long row benches could not easily be rearranged.

Was there a kitchen? Not at our building. Only one lone sink in the single restroom for almost 60 children.

Our team has organized this summer’s VBS to take place at the local school, rotating through classrooms and operating a little more like you and I see in our communities. It is a fabulous blessing! This blessing of space so that we can have three times as many children this year. With helpers and children, we are touching 200 lives. Your prayers and gifts make this expansion possible.

We only have 7 days left for our crowdfunding campaign and every gift is currently being matched.

Click here and check out our crowdfunding page:
https://razoo.com/us/story/Congo-Vbs-2016

Please think of us as you reflect on your VBS this summer and please share about Congo VBS with your church family and friends on Facebook, in email and other social media.

Thank you so very much for your support.

________

Only 5 days left for crowdfunding and a couple pledges have come in getting us closer to our goal. Thank you! –Kristin

 
 

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#MondayMandela

As my youngest prepares for his role in the Living History Museum at school, one of the quotes from his hero seemed appropriate to share.–Kristin

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Posted by on March 21, 2016 in Africa Education, Quotes

 

Z is for Zoomed By

IMG_0725(A to Z Blogs April 2015 – Back to Africa)

I love completion yet have an aversion to finishing things. So here it is half way through May and I’ve yet to post my last letter for the A to Z April Back to Africa. Today is the day, but I know there will be other posts. This last one, Z is for Zoomed By, will likely go on–become it’s own category perhaps. For now, though these are my closing sights from my trip to Africa.

  • Was that a Rwandan barn swallow? It swooped over the tea field to our right
  • An adobe type home has a silver metal circle set in the plaster to decorate above the front door entrance. It takes me a moment to realize it is a hubcap. Wonder if they saw that on Pinterest? You never know.
  • We follow a large flatbed truck with a short container. “67,200 lbs MAX,” the container’s rear says. Emblazoned on the side “Emirates Shipping.” We pass several of these.
  • Our driver accept 1/2mybeignet. We break bread together, Justin and Kristin. This moment of connection makes me smile.

    Hill side banana sales in East Congo

    Hill side banana sales in East Congo

  • A boy, maybe 8 or 9, with a staff is herding 11 goats.
  • So many little girls in their dresses and bald.
  • See a nicer building? Ask what it is. Answer, invariably, “A school.”

______________________

 Kristin King is an author, publisher and co-founder of the nonprofit Future Hope Africa which is based in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. She is from Kentucky (USA) and lives as an expat in Holland.

 

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W is for Water Congo vs. Alaska

It was just one glass of water in DRC, but this is where the taste took me.

It was just one glass of water in DRC, but this is where the taste took me.

(A to Z Blogs April 2015 – Back to Africa)

What I was tasting was rainwater from a roof in East Congo. Where it took me was Alaska right to the top of a glacier. How could that be? Whether it’s bottled or from the tap, our water tends to have any number of additives. Potable tap water is clean rather than pure. Bottled water is often the same. And although rain water can collect impurities as it comes through the air depending on where it is collected, I think our palates are used to the chemical cleaners of the modern age–and frankly don’t know what they’re missing.

For taste, though, nothing can match what I drank from a glacier stream in Alaska. At least I thought nothing could, until my host handed me the boiled and chilled rainwater in Congo. In the same way smells can transport us, so can tastes. What a strange phenomena to be sitting in the heart of Africa and experiencing a glacier at the same time.

______________________

 Kristin King is an author, publisher and co-founder of the nonprofit Future Hope Africa which is based in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. She is from Kentucky (USA) and lives as an expat in Holland.

 

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V is for Views in Africa

(A to Z Blogs April 2015 – Back to Africa)

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The towering flower bushes captivated me even when surrounding security gates. Visit “F is for Flowers” http://wp.me/p8Fvh-xv

As I come to the end last few letters of the alphabet in the #AtoZChallenge, I see so many more notes in my travel journal that are yet to be communicated. So V is for Views of things I saw to take note of during this last trip to Africa. Tidbits straight from my journal.

  • Used to the safety videos in flight? Here’s a new one on me. The larger Ethiopian Air planes have a new lavatory that is complicated to get in and out of and has several touchless-automatic features that confuse people. Now you will watch the “How to Use the Toilet” video on each of these flights.
  • Strapped to bicycles in the mountains we spot a hog-tied goat, roped containers for empty water coming down, stacked high with the person walking and pushing the bike uphill containers full of water, bound loads of sticks bigger than the people transporting them. Bikes and manpower for commerce and survival.
  • A small boy runs into the road right in front of us. The driver is fast to hit the breaks. The boy’s mama retrieves him but the child is all smiles like it is great fun that the car had to stop and she had to grab him.
  • A roadside "store" that we passed several times but was not in use.

    A roadside “store” that we passed several times but was not in use.

    Two boys about 7 or 8 years old are hacking at a tree with an ax.

  • Houses have yards of banana trees, or cassava bushes–occasionally even a front yard of tall corn.
  • Three boys sit in a dry drainage ditch on the side of the road, eating a snack (perhaps chewing on sugar cane pieces?). Their entertainment is watching the cars and trucks go by.
  • Sunflowers are planted a few here and there by houses–not the big single-headed kind but multiple blooms. I wonder if the smaller flowers mean smaller seeds.
  • A pile of orange bricks on the side of the road for sale. It’s huge and notable because usually we see rock piles (African Quarry). Earlier we saw bricks laid out behind a house to dry.
  • In two hours we see only one speed limit sign–80 kilometers per hour. What is that 45 mph? Everyone disregards.
  • After almost finishing my Coca-Cola I notice that the writing on it is Amharic, one of the first languages of my oldest son. This little bit of American-Ethiopian makes long to bring him with me next time I come.

More of these items of notice from Africa will make up Z is for Zoomed By.

We see the UN cars and compounds, but no one seems to know what they actually do locally.

We see the UN cars and compounds, but no one seems to know what they actually do locally.

______________________

 Kristin King is an author, publisher and co-founder of the nonprofit Future Hope Africa which is based in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. She is from Kentucky (USA) and lives as an expat in Holland.

 

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S is for (Silent) Scream

(A to Z Blogs April 2015 – Back to Africa)

“Can you tell the driver if I see a monkey I’ll scream,” I said to my soul-sister, Bintu, as we drove from Kigali through Nyungwe Forest National Park headed to East Congo. Forewarned the driver gave us a big heads up when he spotted this fella–and I managed to only scream with excitement on the inside so I could shoot this video for you. 😉

A couple folks couldn’t get this video to operate here. Link to it on youtube with this link: https://youtu.be/tNjbx4xDq3A

L’Hoest’s monkey (Cercopithecus lhoesti), or mountain monkey, is a guenon found in the upper eastern Congo basin. They mostly live in mountainous forest areas in small, female-dominated groups. They have a dark coat and can be distinguished by a characteristic white beard. (Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L%27Hoest%27s_monkey)

What is it about seeing an animal in the wild?

Terrific.

______________________

 Kristin King is an author, publisher and co-founder of the nonprofit Future Hope Africa which is based in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. She is from Kentucky (USA) and lives as an expat in Holland.

 

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