Our office in the Democratic Republic of the Congo chooses a new field base
Elise Cegielski is a communications intern in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
Our staff at the Samaritan’s Purse headquarters in Bunia waited eagerly for Bakabona Dieudonne, national project manager, to return from a site evaluation trip of the town of Beni.
“We really felt God put Beni on our hearts,” country director Doug Anderson told us. “We never want to respond just as humanitarian aid workers, going with empathy where there are terrible conditions. Most importantly, we want to go where we are called. Beni is a place of great need but also a place we have been continuously lifting up in prayer as a potential location for a new SP DRC base. Now we are waiting for the logistical confirmation.”Upon his return, Bakabona gave us his report:
“In the wake of conflict between rebel groups and the Congolese government, the humanitarian situation for the people of Beni has remained alarming. Vast numbers of people, who fled their homes and returned quite some time ago to terrible conditions, have never been assisted. Rockets destroyed their homes and now up to 10 families are living out of a single abandoned home. Most people also have no steady supply of food or drinking water, health care or education, and no income source. These people’s survival is an absolute miracle!
“I met three young girls, about 17, 14, and 9 years old, who had been kidnapped along with their family by the rebel group. The girls escaped but are now without parents and without anything in the world. They walk around and look for food, maybe gleaning taro or cassava leaves in old fields, not knowing what else to do. I was moved by the great desolation and hopelessness of these girls and the region but also by how much these places are on God’s heart. This is the work God has called us to.
“I talked to several communities, and they said that in their misery they cried out to God for providential rescue because they did not know where else help would come from. Time and time again they asked for aid, but each hope has fallen through. When I told them Samaritan’s Purse would come, they joyously shared, ‘God has heard our pleas and sent Samaritan’s Purse as an answer. No one else has taken notice of us, but you are showing God’s love by seeking us out and caring about our situation. You have given us new hope. We are so touched and await your arrival.’
“After witnessing such poverty, anxiety and insecurity, I know it is vital to pray for the people of Beni. But these men, women, and children need us to be the tangible hands and feet of Jesus, so we will mobilize and we will go.”
Samaritan’s Purse has officially announced Beni, Democratic Republic of the Congo, as a new project site and is currently mobilizing to establish a base there. Food, pots, blankets, tarps, and clothing will be distributed to more recently displaced people, while an agricultural program, providing seeds, tools, and farming techniques will be put into place for established communities.