Monday, March 25, 2013

2013 Hope for Congo Trip-Spring Water Project

Crossing the Kasai at Ndjoko Punda
Welcome to Ndjoko Punda



 
Glen & Rita Chapmen with Powerchute
Water Spring Workers Posing

Stan Graber in person

Water Spring Workers
Hi everyone,

 I just returned from Congo and, first off, need to explain that my international data plan on my cell phone did not work there. To say the least, communication as I had planned was not possible. I bought a simple cell phone there and was able to use it to call home.

 I traveled to Congo with Fred Suter and Les Schlegel who had served in Congo 45 or so years ago. Both men worked at Ndjoko Punda doing maintainance and agriculture related work.

God tells us to make our plans, but He directs our steps. This truth about God was clear as we moved ahead to provide clean water to the hospital at Ndjoko Punda.

Our purpose in going was also to encourage the believers there who depend on God daily just to survive and feed their families. To know others care enough to come and help solve problems encourages them and gives them hope.

 The first day in Kinshasa, the Capitol city, was spent looking for the steel pipe we needed for the supply line from the spring to the ram pump. We had shipped a pump and some pipe and fittings but tried to limit the shipping weight to things we could not get in Congo because of high shipping cost.

A ram pump uses water to pump water. Because water is heavy, the ram, with only 2 moving parts, uses the energy of gravity to create a water hammer effect between 2 check valves that open and slam shut. This energy sends a small amount of water up the delivery pipe every time it cycles; one to two times per second. No electricity or other energy source is needed and it will run day and night as long as water flows thru the pump; very simple appropriate technology.

 While in the Capitol I met with two Christian young men from Ndjoko who are being sponsored by Hope For Congo: Joseph, in mechanics training, and Daniel, in Theological school. They are doing well and plan to return to Ndjoko Punda when they finish. These young men are very bright and eager to learn. It was great to see them again and encourage them.

 The pump and pipe and supplies we shipped from the states had arrived at the MAF (Missionary Aviation Fellowship) hangar ahead of us. A $2000 Congo customs fee had to be paid, however. A problem came up with the MAF Cessna Caravan we were to fly in to Ndjoko, so Garth Pederson, our pilot, had to shuttle us and our 800 lbs. of supplies, using a smaller aircraft. Each flight required a fuel stop at a station,Vanga, half way. My hat is off to the MAF staff and pilots like Garth who work so hard in difficult circumstances and sometimes impossible conditions to facilitate folks like us and other mission efforts. Our flight took us thru some heavy rain and absolutely zero visibility, but also over some beautiful country, rivers and streams.

Welcome to Ndjoko Punda
 We landed at a grass air strip on the diamond mining side of the Kasai river and a crowd soon gathered to greet us. It was good to see old friends again like pastor Ngongo and our water project leader Kalenge Andre; also, the church youth and many others. They had hired 3 motorbikes to take us down to the river crossing. These guys like to drive fast and the roads are sandy and full of washouts. Very scary.

Before we got to the river we were stopped by an immigration official who insisted on $50 from each of us. We were taken to his mud hut office on the river bank where he checked our passports, letters of invitation, etc.. The next day he showed up across the river to inform me that I had given him an outdated $100 bill. They want American dollars but they have to be in mint condition and dated post 2006. It is that way all over Congo. I don't know why.

Crossing the Kasai at Ndjoko Punda
 We crossed in a large canoe and made our way up the long hill to the mission station where we were welcomed again by more believers from the church and the village chief. The 3 of us shared a small room at the pastor's house which happened to be the missionary house I grew up in!
The family gave us their beds to sleep on while they slept on the cement floor, without mattresses. They have 9 children.

 While we were there people brought gifts of pineapple, other fruit, peanuts, and eggs. We ate twice a day, usually fruit and peanuts in the morning, and bidia, meat, and greens in the evening.
We all loved the food but could never eat much because of the heat and fatigue. The Congolese are so gracious and kind and we were well cared for.

 The work at the spring below the station had already begun before we arrived. The young men, some not so young too, but very tough, hard workers, had dug into the hillside into the spring and built a open-bottom concrete, 10 ft., square box; walls about 3 feet high, with some plastic pipes going back through the concrete walls into the dirt. The hillside had caved in and covered all this up so the entire first day was spent digging it out.

 The Sunday morning worship was full: lots of great singing, a sermon in Tshiluba and Lingala, and an offering that lasted about 15 minutes. Two baskets in front are filled as folks sing and slowly dance their way to the front and give. Some come up more than once, and all participate. Towards the end of the service, about 2 1/2 hrs., pastor asked for volunteers to give food for us and the workers, and also carry gravel and sand down to the spring project.

 I watched as the believers read from tattered and worn Bibles and song books so worn they are falling apart. We need to provide new Bibles and books. Some have been provided by Hope For Congo but many more are needed. Cost to print Bibles in their language is $9 each. We provide these at a cost to them of $3. You can donate to:

Hope For Congo
AIMM
PO Box 744
Goshen, IN 46527-0744

Water Spring Workers
Monday, work began in earnest to build the concrete pad for the pump and finish the encasement for the spring. Les and I stayed with the workers, while Fred went across the river to look for some steel and pipe we still needed. The long winding path to the spring is steep with steps dug into it. Water is constantly being carried by women and children up to the village. This goes on all day, every day. We could not make it up this hill empty handed without stopping 4 times to rest and were totally fatigued by the time we got to the top. We would collapse on the front porch in the evening, exhausted and soaked in sweat.

 We enjoyed visiting on the porch in the dark each evening and early mornings. A little generator was used to give some light and charge cell phones, but most of the time it didn't work or they had no fuel.

 A number of older folks who knew our parents or had worked with other missionaries would come with worn and tattered pictures to show us and ask why we have forgotten them. You could see they cherish these memories and photographs. These visits only reinforce our desire, with God's help, to do all we can to help our brothers and sisters here.

 One evening some kids brought a young genet: looks like a mongoose, has spots like a leopard, rings on its tail like a raccoon, and a long nose. About the size of a cat. They kill snakes and make good pets. We were also offered a parrot, but there is no way we could take these home.
Les had worked here at Ndjoko with a helper, a young man named John. To Les' surprise, John in his 70's now, came to see him and invited us all to his house in the village for a meal. Wednesday evening we went there and had some great bidia and chicken. Other meals included goat, small deer, and fish from the Kasai river. Keep in mind we were treated very special and most people don't get meat often.

 On Thursday, Garth flew out to pick me up to go back home. Les and Fred are staying till the 29th and will, with God's help, see water pumping to the hospital. We had purchased a 6500 KW diesel generator for the hospital while we were in Kinshasa, so Garth brought it with him. He removed the seats to bring it and had to take the airplane door off to get it in and out. 8 young men with long poles then carried the 450 lb. machine to the river and then up to the station.

 I received a call today from Fred. The pump is in, the line is laid and plumbed into the tank, but fine sand is plugging the sand filter in the spring encasement. They will change the screen to something larger so the volume remains constant. Please pray for wisdom to solve this problem without plugging the pump or delivery line to the tank.

Glen & Rita Chapmen with Powerchute
  I want to mention one thing that really surprised me and that was getting to meet Glen Chapman. He is a missionary who flies the only powered parachute in Congo. He uses it to fly to villages within a 25 mile radius of his home and shows the Jesus film. He and his wife Rita also train pastors and teachers, not to mention carpentry and a saw mill which contribute so much to this remote community along the Wamba river.

On my return flight to Kinshasa we stopped a Vanga for fuel and Garth told me we would make an unexpected stop at Kikongo. What a neat surprise as I knew that is where Glen and Rita are. In a short time we landed on the grass air strip right in front of their house! I felt as if God arranged this unplanned event just for me because He knew that for years I have wanted to meet Glen and Rita. Glen rolled his powered parachute out of the shed behind his house and we talked about flying for about 10 minutes. It was short, but what a blessing it was. Search "Glen Chapman" or "Congo Powered Parachute" on YouTube for some good video about this.

2 Thessalonians 1:12, "That the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and ye in Him, according to our God and The Lord Jesus Christ."
Stan

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Back in Kinshasa

Stan left Ndjoko Punda this morning via MAF (Mission Aviation Fellowship) plane for Kinshasa, leaving Fred Suter and Les Schlagel to wrap up the project.

Stan flies back to the United States tomorrow afternoon at 2:30 p.m. Kinshasa time.

The water project continues to move forward.  God continues to supply in the absence of supplies.  As all Congolese know, one must be a master at inovation and creativity if you are to be successful and God has given the guys the ability to do so.

There was a lot of enthusiasm and willing workers to assist with the project.  A lot of work to date has been accomplished.  School children were given two days off from classes to go and help with carrying supplies down to the spring in the forest.

Communication via cell phone while at Ndjoko Punda was problematic.  Stan will have some updates and pictures to provide upon his return. 

Continue to pray for the completion of the project and continued health and safety for Fred and Les.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Update-Ndjoko Punda Water Project




This is Bonnie and Abby writing on Stan's behalf. He is having trouble with his email, but wanted you to be updated on their progress.

After some difficult days accumulating the remaining needed supplies in Kinshasa , they arrived in Ndjoko Punda on Friday via MAF airplane. Since then they have done much planning, praying, coordinating, and have started the work of getting water to the village. They have cleared 150' between the spring and where the pump will be installed. They are happy with this progress. The most urgent need right now is for 2" pipe. Fred went back across the river trying to find some. Please pray for this. They have had a lot of willing and hard working helpers from the village.

They are staying in the same house that Stan lived in as a child. It is very hot. Last night's supper was bedia (cassava flour mush), matamba (cooked greens), dikdik meat, and bananas. The time difference is seven hours ahead of us.

There have been many God-appointed circumstances which I'm sure Stan will write more about later. Please keep praying for them. The needs are great but God is sovereign!

God bless you all for your care and concern!

--
 

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Safe Arrival

Received a short text from Stan today.  Hope for Congo team were successful in getting their supplies flown in to Ndjoko Punda.  Today was spent at church and in planning for the work that will begin on Monday.

Life at Ndjoko Punda is 7 hours ahead of central standard time here in the United States.

Water-Key Facts

1.8 million children die every year as a result of diseases caused by unclean water and poor sanitation.   This amounts to around 5,000 deaths a day.  (UNDP)

At any one time, half the population of the developing world is suffering from one or more of the main diseases associated with inadequate  provision of water and sanitation.  (UNDP)

While the average North American uses 400 liters a day of water, the average person in the developing world uses 10 liters of water every day.  (WSSCC)

Households in rural Africa spend an average of 26% of their time fetching water, and it is generally women and children who are burdened with the task. (DFID)

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

DHL Shipment

PhotoPhotoDHL shipment sent from Wichita Kansas included 2000 feet of pipe, ram pump, pipe fittings and miscelaneious supplies to finish water project at Ndjoko Punda.  Pray that we can get it through customs without additional monies.