From the Congo: You are at http://www.lovesimplyhappens.blogspot.com Meet Belice's family.
Nothing is complicated here and yet everything is difficult. Electricity from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. if everything goes right. I am here in the Eastern Congo thanks to ShootQ Rachel LaCour, Andrew Niessen, Mark Adams and of course Dawn Davis,Laura Novack,Jasmine Star,Joe Buissnink.
It's illegal to take pictures of buildings, roads, cars or anything else they (soldiers carrying AK 47s or police) decide what is illegal on a whim. Once I have been detained because a friend took a picture, (not me) but he was Ugandan and it was me, the blonde (rich???looking one they wanted)and just the other day I had to fight for my camera (hey Mark I still have it) to keep a soldier from taking it.
It is 9-year-old Belice and her family who live daily with these terrorists. They live in the northern countryside of the Eastern Congo. Belice and her family once had a house made of wood, a small herd of goats and farmed their land. When Congolese government soldiers and Laurent Nkunda’s rebel troops clashed in their village, the people ran. Just before this last fighting the soldiers nabbed nine-year-old Belice and raped her. Her father said, “she came running towards the house screaming and crying, I couldn’t understand her at first through her sobs. Then she said, Daddy the soldiers got me”. Leonard, her father says he knew exactly what that means. He knows, because soldiers have raped 80% of the women in their village. After 3 weeks of living as a refugee Belice, her 4 brothers and sisters and parents returned home to the village. The soldiers had stolen their goats, dismantled and took every piece of wood that constituted their house, and every single possession within their home and farm. Today they muster resiliency, they believe that things will get better. Then gunfire from an AK47 sprays bullets overhead breaking the laughter into pieces, devastating the hope. It is only a drunk soldier 500 feet from where we stand. No one is harmed this time. Belice and Cecile her little sister stood stunned I pulled them down to the ground. Everyone is OK today.
They ask for nothing from me except for a bible. It's almost Christmas. They pray their baby will not cry from hunger. They pray their mother to be well from malaria. I am a journalist. Or am I? I cannot say I am today. I am not objective. I am on Belice’s side. Yes I am 100% for nine-year-old Belice. Today hope prevails. Teachers have committed to teaching even under the CNDP rebel control and without any pay. The teachers will ask parents to contribute soon. For most this will be impossible. Yet Belice's father says, "one day of school, two days... is better than none." Belice will go to school until they are requested to pay money.
I gave Belice a couple of disposable cameras and had the film developed in a city for her. She had never seen pictures. Her face lit up with joy. Her shyness disappeared. She will be strong. I know this. My time is ending here in the Congo. I am not sure how to say goodbye to Belice and her family. I want many things for her and for her family. I want them to have enough food that they are not hungry and I want Belice to have a hiv test. Maybe I’m pushing it but I want them to have goats again and have the opportunity to stay in school. Somehow it seems unfair to say goodbye to Belice and to her family. I know she will miss me. I gave them so little and they have been thankful for too much.
Post a note, a poem, a newsbit whatever you please. Thanks to a very cool out of the box kinda guy,Gary Kleinwho made it all happen!!!!! Yeah Gary Also Dr. V. Bose my surface hippy friend in Chennai, India many many thanks.