Archives For wsuckau

“We can’t drive through the area where the explosions happened—security risks. The closest we can get is about 1.5 kilometers [about 1 mile] from it.” Upon my request, the staff had offered to give us a sense of the devastation in the area where explosions had rocked the city on March 4, when a munitions depot exploded in the middle of the city of Brazzaville, Republic of Congo. As we approached the 1.5-kilometer perimeter, the effects of the tragedy—even over a month later—were clearly evident. All windows were either boarded up or missing, and smaller houses with less-solid structures had collapsed altogether. As we looked in the direction of the explosion, we couldn’t make out any structures that resembled buildings. “This does not look like a conventional munitions depot exploded,” I commented. Our companion simply raised his eyebrows and nodded thoughtfully. The explosions happened at 8 a.m. on a Sunday, so most people were in their houses when it happened. Later, back in our accommodations, a friend showed me a picture of their room, with glass on the bed next to the window. “If it was not for the curtain in front of the window,” my friend said, “I’m not sure what would have happened to me.” The house was about three miles away from the explosions. Continue Reading…

Walter with DRC and RC staff

I’m on my way back from Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo. It was my first time here; sitting now in the airplane, my time here seems almost like a dream. The world here seems so different and foreign.

I had the opportunity to meet many clients, talk to them, hear their stories, meet the leaders of HOPE here, and plan for the future. Images race through my head, and it seems as if I have not processed all my experiences yet. Continue Reading…

Songs of praise to God fill the air as I walk to church in Kigali, Rwanda, on Sunday morning. God has really blessed Africans with beautiful voices.

Going to church is always one of my favorite experiences during my visits to Rwanda. The joy of being in God’s presence as the community of God’s people, regardless of nationality, is evident in the singing and dancing around me. This joy is contagious. I can’t help but notice that I swing along with the rhythm of the congregation.

The day before, someone invited a friend and me to visit an orphanage that same Sunday, but I declined. Even though I’ve worked in development for many years, seeing children suffer is still just too overwhelming for me. As I connect with my friend after his visit, I can tell it was a moving experience for him. Honestly, I’m glad I did not go. Continue Reading…