Congo Open Heart News summer 2014


Carrying water from River

Dear Friends,

Please take a minute to think about the things we do automatically every day:

Open a faucet for water, even hot water.
Flush the toilet.
Lift a glass of water to our lips without concern for the bacteria content. Push a button or a switch for light.
Turn on the TV or connect to Internet.
Buy a loaf of bread without thinking where the flour comes from.

These common activities and many other similar ones depend on two things we take for granted: water and electricity. As soon as our homes are built, they are connected to the networks that very rarely let us down.


Think about the thousands of people in the world, like our friends in the heart of Africa, who have to walk a mile every day, morning and evening, to go get water to cook and drink and, if a little is left over—to wash with. The women usually carry  five gallons of water on their heads, and the return trip from the river is up a steep hill.

Each time you lift a glass of water to your lips without worrying about the bacteria content, think of the thousands of children with bloated stomachs who are sick from parasites from the water they drink. The statistics tell us that and Nearly two million children in the world die of waterborne diseases each year and  thousands more die from infections each year.

Scientists say that that the Democratic Republic of Congo has 40% of the water of Africa, yet most of the people don’t have it.

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Grinding flour

Before cooking, mothers and girls have to grind the flour, hammering in a morter with what used to be the trunk of a small tree, until they have blisters on their hands.

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Finding and carrying wood

They’ve also had to go down the path to bring back a big bunch of branches and wood on their heads to make fire for cooking.

These problems are just as real in Congo’s big cities where water is polluted and wood very difficult to find. Much of their precious money is spent for charcoal produced where wood is becoming rare. Besides that, they have to cook with the smoke filling their huts and covering towns and villages with a cloud of pollution.

CONGO OPEN HEART is working on these problems as much as finances permit, not only encourage the people to move from the crowded, polluted cities to which they fled during the rebellion, and return to the country where their chances of retaining  good health are far better, and where they can model wholesome Christians living.


Water cistern

On July 3, three of our members are again leaving Belgium and going to Congo for five weeks of work at Matende. This time especially, water is the priority. A permanent solution would be a well or pump and pipes from the river, both solutions very expensive. Even then, we must catch and conserve the rain water that comes down in great quantities seven or eight months of the year and keep it from eroding the foundations.

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Restoring buildings from this…

At Matende mission the team has recuperated two houses,


… to this.

but the water cascades down from the corrugated tin roofs, washes away the sandy soil around the foundations and is not saved.

We plan to build wider rain troughs to catch the water and channel it to cisterns. Since the last trip one house has a completely new roof and the other needs all new tin sheets to replace the twisted and rusted ones. The concrete walls of the main big cistern we cleaned out are too porous and it does not hold water. It is necessary to plaster the walls with a material used for swimming pools. This cistern will hold 10,000 gallons.



Flour grinder needed

It is not possible to solve all the problems at once, but the women are begging us to get a grinder for flour. A big motor driven grinder is excluded because it would need fuel, maintenance, training and costs to operate. We have been looking for a grinder with a big wheel that they can turn by hand like we used in 1940 that could be purchased from Montgomery Ward then. Nothing similar could be found in Congo or elsewhere. Finally we found a humanitarian organization in the US that makes a hand grinder.

We haven’t seen it yet but are ordering a test model. We need to find an economical way to ship it to Congo so at least one grinder could be available for each of the four missions. We hope to have one here before the trip.


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Relieve excessive loads from women.

Tickets are in hand for the three of us to leave in July and return together to Belgium in August: David Torrini, Nelson Kayamba and Bud Kroeker. We were fortunate to get a humanitarian price by ordering in advance. Nelson is a truck driver in Germany and son of the first convert at Matende in 1945.

The budget still needs to be completed without knowing exactly how much material, boards, tin sheets, hardware and paint for the walls are needed. There will be the fuel costs for inland
driving of nearly 2000 miles. Fortunately the MAN army truck is
waiting for us in Kinshasa and missionary friends have purchased two new batteries. The diesel electric generator is on the truck. The budget will be nearly $15,000.

We are very thankful for all who have helped us with the ministry of Congo Open Heart. We need your prayers for strength, good communications with our African friends and meeting many unpredictable situations and expenses.

On this trip we hope to be able to spend a little more time with the two neighboring missions, Iwungu-Nsamba and Mangungu.

We will try to keep you informed of this new adventure in the coming weeks. Thank you for listening to us and helping. When you turn on the water, please pray for Congo.

Clement “Bud” Kroeker, CONGO OPEN HEART

Matende – Some Results

Training center now in use with tools, training through a woodworking class under the mango tree and beginning of computer training, New benches for school.

Agriculture for Health

Healthy food for hungry stomachs.

Healthy food for hungry stomachs.

Furniture for the Training Center


From sawing log…


…to table…




to usefulness

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