October 13, 2009
Voices of Hope Pew Bulletin Story
Democratic Republic of Congo
“Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” Ã¢â‚¬”Hebrews 13:2
When the fighting between the rebels and the army spilled into her village in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo), Kanyere fled with her four children. “We hid for three days in the bush. It was raining, and was very hard for the children,” she says. “We had no food, and nothing to cover them with. We finally decided to walk to Goma.” Kanyere and her small group of dazed survivors found their way to a small Baptist church and waited until daybreak, when members of the congregation came and took them in. Kanyere and her children settled in a dirt-floor Sunday School room with several other families. “Their acceptance is so different from the violence we escaped from,” she says. This story repeats itself thousands of times throughout the mountains around Goma, where a long-simmering war has left more than five million dead in the last decade. But the massive displacement has not resulted in large relocation camps, as most people are taken in by families.
ACT International, the global faith-based alliance responding to emergencies, is supporting these Congolese churches with foodsecurity programs to help residents grow more food for their expanded households. They are also providing essential supplies for cooking and shelter. ACT leaders say that this traditional way for the population to cope with displacement provides a healthier and more secure environment than relocation into large camps. This grassroots hospitality is precious respite to a wounded people. PWRDF is a member of ACT. The hospitality of the poor (PDF)