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Tag Archives: Democratic Republic of the Congo

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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!

 

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Public Transport – Spotted in Africa

Public transport in Africa is fairly diverse. These were just some of the options spotted in East Congo during my trip to our educational mission. Hop on a cargo truck, take a ferry up Lake Kivu, pay the man hanging out of the white bus window, or get through traffic the quickest on the back of a moped. I confess the only one of these options I sampled was the white bus.IMG_0769IMG_0813 IMG_0809

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 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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Our Princesses in Congo

Our Princesses in Congo

Beyond #AtoZChallenge – Back to Africa

I couldn’t locate these photos when I blogged about our young ladies in “P is for Princess” but I still wanted to share these terrific gals who are part of our mentoring club or school sponsorship in East Congo. Our nonprofit, Future Hope Africa has already made a brighter day working together with these students. –Dr. Kristin King, President and Chief Hugger for FHA.

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Some of the FHA Princesses who are continuing their education thanks to sponsorship.

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Two students whose friendship was torn apart in the past and then reconciled in the Club Princesses. Their testimony will be coming to a new Future Hope Africa youtube channel in the future.

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A young woman who was forced to end her schooling a number of years ago, but she is now learning the trade of tailoring thanks to sponsors through Future Hope Africa.

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God’s Princesses are never too young to find they are welcome at FHA’s Education Center in East Congo.

 
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Posted by on May 2, 2015 in Other

 

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African Rock Quarry

Roadside gravel pile in Eastern Congo.

Roadside gravel pile in Eastern Congo.

About 9 piles of gravel sit ready for purchase, and atop each one is a man. He has a sack of larger stones he is cracking with a hand-sized boulder.

It is a far cry from the quarry in Kentucky where my high school friend lost her father to a stray rock after a dynamite explosion. In Rwanda is a safer rock, though the gravel maker’s backside might beg to differ.

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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.

Visit Future Hope Africa

Visit Future Hope Africa

 

 
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Posted by on February 12, 2015 in Christmas in Congo

 

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Lost White Woman in East Congo

Screen Shot 2015-02-04 at 11.06.30 PMSeveral years ago when I flew through Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) a couple of times, my husband and I were among the rare white faces on the flights. In fact, another couple adopting from Ethiopia were the only other ones on our first 300+ passenger flight out of Frankfurt, Germany. 3 1/2 years ago there were a small handful of pale faces.

During my most recent trip on Christmas Eve, I couldn’t help but stare as I waited and then boarded each leg of my travel. Later I said to Bintu, “What’s with all the white people?” We had a laugh, and jokes about the white woman (i.e. me) became a thing. “Blanche personne” I sometimes heard in French. The white woman effect has both pro’s and con’s. Speaking of my experience, if the white woman says anything in the local (i.e. tribal) language, it is as hilarious as it is welcome. That was particularly enjoyable.

In visa and immigration lines while dealing with Congo officials, the white woman went to a shorter line and received a lot of help. This made me uncomfortable as if I were cutting in line until I was told it was because my paperwork was different. For instance, in the Antwerp DRC Consulate, I was the only person applying for a travel visa when others were more often applying for passports.

People all over east DRC tended to stare without concern for appropriateness. Bintu told me I was probably the first white woman they’d ever seen who wasn’t riding in a UN van. One of the students at our mission declared, “She is the prettiest white woman I’ve ever met.” When Bintu told me I asked if I was the only one the student had met. “No,” she said. Of course, this compliment came only after almost 2 weeks of seeing the white woman play with the children, greet everyone with smiles, try to speak in 3 languages obviously foreign to her, etc. I pray it is the light of Jesus inside me she sees shining.

The downside for the white woman is being an automatic panhandler magnet. This is understandable in an area that has seen so much suffering.

My Congolese friend discovered a final upside to the effect at church my last Sunday when we became separated. Her sister arrived and Bintu called, “I’ve lost my white woman! Have you seen her?” The whole choir erupted in laughter.

Indeed, when out for my last day in the car I spotted TWO white women on the sidewalk. Absolutely unprecedented. I exclaimed, “Look! White women! I should take a picture.” Alas, I was too slow with the camera.

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Kristin King is a white woman with a heart for Africa. She is co-founder and president of the nonprofit, Future Hope Africa. Kristin blogs about travel, books and writing while living as an US expat in the Netherlands with her husband, four sons and golden lab.

Visit Future Hope Africa

Visit Future Hope Africa

 
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Posted by on February 9, 2015 in Christmas in Congo, Travel

 

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Congo Christmas – …Think On These Things

IMG_0428There are sights in the poverty-stricken areas I’ve visited in several countries that are impossible to forget–they scar the memory. Going to a place like east Congo where so many differences are a product of war, greed, and atrocities, it would be easy to focus on things like trash strewn areas, hovels, children playing in a ditch. As the leader of a nonprofit shooting photos and video, how easy it would be to highlight needs and ply your heart-strings with sad melodies.

However, I set out on my trip with one Bible verse on my mind’s virtual billboard; it played across the ticker-tape of my vision level with my forehead as if I wore gamer glasses with this function.

…whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. Philippians 4:8 (NASB)

That God is alive and doing eternal work at the mission is more true than the trash on the street, that our staff pours in time and energy without regard for salary is honorable, that to see needs and meet them in whatever way we can is right, that the children’s delight in your small attentions–the smile or goofy dance–is pure, that the whole journey during the rainy season became a movement from one blossom to the next was lovely, that careful hands prepared meal after meal of African fare we’d never tasted was of good repute, that there was excellence and efforts worthy of praise at every turn, that my LORD says “think on these things” was the foundation of my travel journal and visual documentation.

IMG_0464Another translation says to “dwell on these things,” let your thoughts live, find their home, rest your being on the true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent things, on whatever is worthy or praise. I pray this for you today. Let us help one another see these things even in the valley of the shadow of death.

Great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom. (Psalm 145:3) I called to the LORD, who is worthy of praise, and I have been saved from my enemies.(Psalm 18:3) For great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; he is to be feared above all gods.(Psalm 96:4) Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. (Isaiah 40:28) For you are great and do marvelous deeds; you alone are God. (Psalm 86:10)

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Kristin King is a Christian author and president of the non-profit Future Hope Africa. She recently returned from  visiting FHA’s education mission in eastern Congo and is blogging from her travel journal about the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Visit Future Hope Africa

Visit Future Hope Africa

 

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Congo Christmas – Gone Bananas

IMG_0672The vendor comes down the gravel church drive to our education center. The attractive display of bananas perched on her head must weigh 30 lbs if not 40. She is just outside the window where Bintu, Vivian and Rachel make their selections while I try to get a post to my blog up during very limited internet time.
Later the bananas are offered to me. They are strange little yellow stubs, no longer than my ring finger–perhaps 2.5 inches. Oh the taste! Like I’ve never had a banana before. There is the traditional flavor yet sweeter. What really sets them apart is the sharp tang, like the best key lime pie.
They are dangerous for someone who worked through lunch. Five are gone before I consider the consequences of too much fruit. I’m told they tried to grow them elsewhere and they aren’t the same. Even here in east Congo they no longer as common as they once were.

The are called “bitika kamera,” and they are the best bananas in the world I am sure. You should visit the Congo just to taste them.

 

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Congo Christmas – Dengue Diet

Beignet handmade for the children's party by Widows Catering behind our education center.

Beignet handmade for the children’s party by Widows Catering behind our education center.

There was concern among my family members about what could go wrong on my Congo Christmas trip: ebola, terrorists/rebels, malaria, war, etc. I was more concerned over what I would pack since I have put on weight. My husband helpfully suggested this gain would not be a concern for long.

“Don’t worry about it,” he said. “You’ll catch Dengue fever, lose thirty pounds in a week and fit in all your old clothes.”

Dengue fever, a tropical virus whose symptoms include fever, headache, muscle & joint pain (flu anybody?), is, like malaria, another mosquito borne pathogen. In a small percentage of cases Dengue can become hemorrhagic (ebola?) and thus more deadly. Dengue is a cousin of West Nile and yellow fever. With ebola symptoms such as fever, headache, muscle pain & nausea, and malaria symptoms such as fever, headache, nausea, folks who get sick in the Congo really have to be checked out by a doctor.

My trip turned out completely disease free and even better (link to future post), so I took several photos to show my husband that I choose a different course.

No Dengue Diet for me, darling. Nope, I spent twelve days on the Beignet Diet.

Yum!

What are the widows making?

What are the widows making?

 Hand dropped beignets...

Hand dropped beignets…

…by the hundreds!

…by the hundreds!

 

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Kristin King is an author and president of the non-profit Future Hope Africa, a small educational mission in east Congo. Recently returned from spending Christmas in the Congo, she is currently blogging about the experience.

 

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Holland Expat – First Christmas

Den Haag Christmas Market Photo © Kristine Noel Photography.

Den Haag Christmas Market Photo © Kristine Noel Photography.

We celebrated Christmas early fulfilling a long-standing childhood dream of getting into those packages early. It was Sunday, December 21st. The small stack of presents under the 3 foot table-top tree beckoned, “Today is the day. Mysteries will be revealed.”

At church that morning we sat as a family listening to the continuing sermon series on Luke which reached Luke 2:

Now it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be enrolled….she wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in the manger….[to shepherds] And the angel said to them, ‘Be not afraid; for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people; for there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord….

Near The Hague this Christmas?  Visit our church for Christmas morning service on the 25th.  http://redeemerchurch.nl

Near The Hague this Christmas? Visit our church for Christmas morning service on the 25th. http://redeemerchurch.nl

The points of the sermon were: 1) Jesus came for all (people), 2) Jesus is the Savior, and 3) Jesus is God with us. There were good highlights brought out and discussed of this scripture which is so familiar to me as I’ve heard several times every Christmas since I was a small child visiting my Grandy in Louisville, Kentucky. It was a sub-point that hit me hard with a life lesson on God. Perhaps I’ll blog about that another time.

After service, my family gathered for prayer with the Pastor and a recent university graduate who is headed home to Zambia for Christmas, to job hunt, and be with family. Then we were off to our house for a special lunch, opening packages, family time and a great feast in the evening.

So why all the change in schedule? the prayer? the gifts early? This actually won’t be my first Christmas in Holland because I’m headed to Africa. It will be a Congo Christmas for me this year. For the first time I will visit our mission (Future Hope Africa) in the heart of Africa–and to accommodate my niece joining me we are both leaving before Christmas, she from Kentucky, and I from Amsterdam. We will meet on connecting flights in Addis Ababa and go forth together.

Will you join us? In your thoughts, prayers, and in this blog? You and yours are welcome–to our Congo Christmas.

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Kristin King is an author, publisher and President of Future Hope Africa.

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Putting My $$$ Where My Literary Mouth Is

Screen Shot 2014-06-27 at 8.53.50 PMOn the heels of George R. R. Martin’s Wolf Sanctuary Fundraiser ‘Got $20,000? Then you too can die in a Game of Thrones Book’ my in house guest blogger launches a challenge that 1) every reader can afford and that 2) oddly enough benefits poor and underprivileged people. Check it out. –Kristin King

Write a Review – Save the World (Guest Post by Ryan King, Author of the Land of Tomorrow Trilogy)

Wait…what? Yes, fine respectable readers, it can be done. Let me explain the what first and then the how.

Several years ago my wife and I lived in Belgium where we met a wonderful young Congolese woman named Bintu. Her family had sent her to Belgium to obtain her degree and  get her away from the war going on near her home in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Bintu lived with us for a while and became obsessed with using her God-given skills and talents to try and help her country and its peoples. More specifically, she wanted to help women and young girls in eastern DRC who had been abused, abandoned, and generally disregarded in many cases. She seeks to help them and other students through education, kindness and general support. The fruits of her struggle and efforts is a non-profit organization called Future Hope Africa http://www.futurehopeafrica.com.

To date Future Hope Africa has helped and educated hundreds of young people by providing them a skill and convincing them of their genuine worth. My wife and I support this organization as much as we can. She is actually traveling to eastern DRC is a few months to assist Bintu in this endeavor.

So what does this have to do with book reviews? I’m glad you asked. I’m sure most people are familiar with a pledge system. People come door to door and ask you to pledge one dollar for every mile they run or car they wash or something of the like. Well, this is a reverse pledge system. I pledge to donate $10 of my own money for every Amazon review of one of my books or stories you write in the month of July. I will do this regardless of whether the review is in response to this blog, whether it be good or bad, or how long the review happens to be. At the end of the month I will post the results.

In order to help kick this off, I will even make four of my works free during the month of July and reviews of these free works certainly count.

2-6 July: The Protectors (Dystopian) – http://www.amazon.com/Protectors-Ryan-King-ebook/dp/B00HFGSMF2

9-13 July: Best Interests – http://www.amazon.com/Best-Interests-ebook/dp/B007X7WOPM

16-20 July: Better Off Dead – http://www.amazon.com/Better-Off-Dead-ebook/dp/B00DQ0ZS62

23-27 July: Mask of Mitwaba (Paranormal) – http://www.amazon.com/Mask-of-Mitwaba-ebook/dp/B00C3RZQ0W

 

Here are links to some of my others works if you wish to write a review of one of them.

 

Glimmer of Hope (Post Apocalyptic) – http://www.amazon.com/Glimmer-Hope-Ryan-King/dp/147931207X

Children of Wrath – http://www.amazon.com/Children-Wrath-Land-Tomorrow-ebook/dp/B00GAXHPDG/

Dead World Voices: Post Apocalyptic Boxed Set – http://www.amazon.com/Dead-World-Voices-Apocalyptic-Boxed-ebook/dp/B00KK1GYLI

The Hanging of Hard Barnes (Historical Fiction – LA Noir) –

http://www.amazon.com/Hanging-Hard-Barnes-Ryan-King/dp/1479235296

The Last Man – http://www.amazon.com/The-Last-Man-Ryan-King/dp/1479235490

No Kinda Life – http://www.amazon.com/No-Kinda-Life-Ryan-King/dp/1479235067

Kentucky Feud – http://www.amazon.com/Kentucky-Feud-ebook/dp/B00BKQMX44

The Darkside of Down Home – http://www.amazon.com/The-Darkside-Down-Home-Secret/dp/1479319694

The Other Side of Down Home – http://www.amazon.com/Other-Side-Down-Home-Storytelling-ebook/dp/B00FG3GJGU

 

Is this proposal on my part completely selfless? Of course not, I want more reviews of my books. But I also want to draw attention to this wonderful organization that is trying to help people and in some small way make our world better. In short, I’m putting my money where my literary mouth is.

Will you help me?

–Ryan King

 

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