In DR Congo, everything takes a little longer. The infrastructure and utilities are just not very advanced or reliable. This makes shopping for 20 children, for a month, a bit of a challenge.
First, you have to navigate the traffic. There are three robot lights in Kinshasa. A city of 5 million people and 3 lights. In some places, you find Police doing their best to conduct traffic, but mostly the bravest gas pedal gets the right of way. I joked with my friends that next time I would wear a “Go-Pro” on my head and send it to a video game creator. ‘Streets of Kinshasa’, would be the title of the video game. My kids would love it. As you can imagine, this makes driving a bit dangerous. Accidents are very common.
The second obstacle - roads. Most roads in DR Congo are not like here, they are more like trails. Combine that with the nightly rain, and it makes for some interesting puddles. Some of these puddles can engulf your car! This most certainly makes for some exciting driving! Thank goodness we had awesome drivers.
Everywhere you look there are people, vehicles and music playing in the back ground. People shop for their produce daily here. Most don't have refrigeration, and if they do, the frequent power outages cause them to be unreliable. Purchasing your food fresh every day is part of the culture. The market feels 'alive' and is really quite invigorating. I could have roamed the market all day, taking in the sites and sounds of Kinshasa life.
It took a team of 5 people to carry out this buying mission. Rose and Joelle were the expert shoppers and the directors of this operation. We had a driver and 2 other kind gentlemen that made this all possible. We started off with an empty cargo van, seats removed to make space.
I watched the team barter and check quality. As bags were filled, two people would count the amount of scoops, etc. This was a big operation carried out with expertise and systematic shopping. A list is made (some items are not needed monthly, while others are) and very tactfully the team plans out their route, knowing which vendor offers the best quality for the best value.
These ladies work so incredibly hard, and the work isn't exactly easy! (It certainly gave me a new appreciation for our simple trips to the grocery store here in Canada!) I was in awe at all times by the efficiency in which they and their team carried out their tasks.
It is so important for organizations such as us to visit and see just what goes on behind the scenes with our own eyes. To see and really understand how something, like making food deliveries, is really quite complicated and takes hours of planning and co-ordinating.
I am so proud to have Linked up with these terrific people at Mwangaza Int. We have been feeding kids through them for over a year! They work incredibly hard to address the needs and nutrition of the children on our behalf. We are so fortunate to know that not only does this team carry out this work with efficiency and professionalism, but they are driven with a passion and heart for the children. We couldn't ask for any more.
Stay tuned for the food delivery and more of my adventures in DR Congo.
To learn more about our feeding program, please see our Feed a Child page.