OP CROCODILE ROTO 39-40, United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

OP CROCODILE ROTO 39-40, United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Photo: Maj Mathieu PROULX, Info Ops Chief , Lcol Sébastien CAMPAGNA, TF DRC GOMA DET CMD, Maj Peter COOPER, Sgt Michel Jolicoeur, NSE clerk

“We heard about an orphanage in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) that had been receiving help from Canadians, but people had lost track of it. By chance, a member of the organization learned that we were Canadians and told us about the orphanage run by World Orphans Kids. Philippe, the person in charge, explained to us that he takes in street children, commonly known as “mai bobo”, to save them from a life of crime or, even worse, being recruited by armed groups to become child soldiers. He does not have space to house all the children; the orphanage floors are made of volcanic rock and there are no beds. Therefore, Philippe relies on members of the local community to house the children overnight. During the day, the children attend school and eat at least one hot meal.
 
We visited the orphanage on January 19, 2020, and were enthusiastically greeted by children who were curious and excited to meet the people they had heard so much about! They were even waiting for us with a Canadian flag signed by the members of the 2013 contingent. We handed out soccer balls and candy, almost causing a riot!
 
While visiting the organization’s tiny office, we were again surprised to see pictures of Canadian military personnel from previous rotations. From then on, we made a commitment to help this organization.
 
Thanks to private donations, mainly from families and friends, we were able to purchase and deliver food staples and school supplies. The children were particularly thrilled with their new chalkboards.   
 
For our third visit, we wanted to make a more permanent improvement to the organization’s facilities. Thanks once again to private donations, we were able to redo the floors of two classrooms so that the children would no longer have to walk on volcanic rock, the desks would be straighter, and the classrooms could be used as emergency dormitories. On February 23rd, we set to work alongside our Congolese colleagues to redo the floors. At first, they were a bit skeptical about us being there, calling us “muzungu”, which means foreigner, until we took off our shirts. They were surprised to see “muzungu” working side by side with them. A lighthearted atmosphere prevailed as we carried out the rest of the work together, and we even exchanged many jokes.
 
Unfortunately, many projects still need to be completed before the orphanage is “livable,” namely the other floors, a kitchen, proper toilets, solar power, and a rainwater collection system as there is no running water. Let’s just say there is no shortage of projects.”
 
 
In February of 2020, Boomer’s Legacy received the above testimonial of an orphanage in Goma, Democratic Republic of the Congo, from project lead Lcol Sébastien Campagna, CMR SJ. Inspired by this testimonial, Boomer’s Legacy granted the team additional funds to build a sanitary bloc with toilets and one shower.
 
This orphanage’s mission is to help keep the kids off the streets, give them an education and to prevent them from becoming child soldiers with the illegal armed groups. The completion of this project will help give these kids a chance, which are the future of the Congo, and endear the local population to the Canadian contingent and Canadians in general.
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