Our son-in-law, Pastor Lucas Weeks, is the descendant of two generations of missionaries to the nation formerly known as the Congo or Zaire, but now variously referred to as the Democratic Republic of Congo, DR Congo, Congo-Kinshasa, or the DRC. His parents, Ron and Doris Weeks, live in Kinshasa and Lucas just forwarded this piece from the National Geographic that does a good job describing life in Kinshasa.
A couple excerpts:
“I met an eastern Congo woman here in 1998, a pregnant rape victim,” Tsimba tells me. “I asked her if she would keep the kid.
She said, ‘Yes, he’s innocent.’ This became my inspiration. I showed her the sculpture when I was done. She was excited, even delighted, that someone was telling this to the world. She said, ‘Yes, this is how I suffered.’ I sold the sculpture and used the money to... pay for the hospital and for clothes, so that she and her baby could go back to Goma.”
(Artist Bodys Isek Kingelez who works in plexiglass modelling) is a fervid admirer of the U.S. “The American President, the first thing he does is put his hand on the Bible, and his first pledge is ‘so help me God,’ not ‘so help me man.’” Kingelez notes. “This is why Americans are unique. They will never be stopped, in the way a river can never be stopped. I’d like to finish my life there, to make America stronger still.” Correspondingly, Kingelez is appalled by Kinshasa, the city he lives in but had no part in constructing. “It’s a city full of musicians who chase the ladies but don’t do anything for the benefit of society,” he says. “This is why the Congo will stay poor. I deeply detest all this noise, this music. You can’t think about the future when this loud music is playing. If you spend all night shouting and jumping and dancing, in the morning you won’t be able to do anything of value.”.