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Myra Sloan and Louise Brockbank have recently returned from a visit to the DRC to visit the various aspects of our Love Congo project.

The team travelled from Kampala to the Congo border with the 6 large solar panels bought for the health centre. The town of Kasindi is in close to the Virunga National Park but over 100 miles from where two Britons were recently kidnapped and a similar distance from the other troubled areas further north. It is seen as the place of safety to where displaced families are fleeing. This is placing great pressure on the local resources.

The medical clinic building is progressing and once the doors and windows are fitted the solar panels can be screwed securely on the roof. There is great interest in town and people are looking forward to the clinic opening.

There is a pressing need to transfer into the building as soon as possible as the small mud hut where the team presently work is starting to disintegrate and is far too small to meet increasing patient numbers.

The trickle of families running from rebel activity or other massacres has swelled to over 40 families a week. The local families often take in the new arrivals but this is getting very tough.

We had planned to reduce our child feeding program and move towards farming projects but the need is too great at the moment so we are continuing. As Myra was visiting the school she recognised one of the girls who looked happy and well nourished. Looking back on photographs from 2 years previously she found her picture and is was heartening to see how she had been transformed along perhaps with many others that Myra didn’t remember.

The school started 2 years ago in the church building is now officially open with its own classrooms and following the national curriculum. It feels like a very ordered and happy little place. We need three more classrooms and hope we can purchase some land next to the church compound.

The chickens which many of you purchased as Christmas gifts have been a great encouragement to the families who received them. It was fun to walk round the area visiting them. We have asked them all to hatch one of their eggs and return a chick which can be given to another family.

The local mayor is really positive about the projects in Kasindi and was very keen to be facilitating. He has helped us to find some land just out of town that we can rent for refugee families to farm so we have rented 3 acres which will be enough for 70 to families to have a parcel. The land can produce 3 crops in a year and then we can review the success of this project.

Education and training are a vital part of improving health. Dr Louise spent two afternoons teaching local doctors and nurses at the local government hospital.

We spent a whole morning with over 100 local women ( and a few men) helping them to understand the functioning of their bodies and the risks of multiple pregnancies or teenage births. There was great buzz with lots of questions and each lady went home with a little gift bag!