Tuesday, March 21, 2017


Part 2 of 2

Since the founding of Child Action Initiative (CAI) June, 2006, Isaiah has gone above and beyond the original goal of educating children to meeting the basic needs of the residents of Kasungami, DRC.  Their daily living conditions were deplorable no education programs or facilities for the many children orphaned by the HIV/AIDS epidemic and civil war; contaminated drinking water, lack of adequate nourishing food due to primitive farming methods; malaria and typhoid fever and Nazareth Methodist Church (NUMC), headquarters for CAI, pillaged and plundered by civil war.

During our visit in June, 2008, it was obvious additional, more reliable and clean potable drinking water wells were necessary to meet the basic needs of a population growing exponentially - approximately 4,000 residents in 2008 to approximately 53,000 in 2016.  The wells were needed to mitigate the effects of water borne diseases prevalent in hand dug wells.  We brought this to the attention of our friend, the late Richard (Dick) E. Wright, P. G. a professional geologist and a member of Hershey, PA Rotary Club.  Three drinking water wells were made possible through a $15,000. donation from the Hershey Rotary Club.  Isaiah coordinated the drilling of the wells with World Vision located in nearby Lubumbashi.  This included drilling three strategically placed wells around the settlement, installation of well casings and three India Mark II hand pumps.  Electrically driven well pumps would have been the ideal situation but an unreliable electric supply precluded this choice.
New well near the restored NUMC 
Following are photographs showing the condition of NUMC when we first visited the area in June, 2008.

 Unable to return to Kasungami due to health reasons we enlisted the help of David Heiser, a personal friend and licensed environmental engineer.  Dave visited Kasungami on our behalf to test the water supplies and further access the general needs.  He also donated windows and doors pillaged from the church during the protracted civil war.  A nearby Catholic Church donated the corrugated steel roofing material.  Isaiah and members of the congregation installed the roof.

Restored NUMC
 The existing NUMC parsonage was in ruins and a new parsonage was planned by Isaiah and church members.  Following another visit to Kasungami, David reported church members and villagers had handmade 10,000 bricks for the parsonage.

Dave Heiser and 10,000 bricks for the Parsonage

Max Kern and his wife Shirley, of Oak Ridge UMC led a building team to Kasungami in 2012 to begin construction of the parsonage up to the roof line.  Isaiah and church members completed construction of the parsonage.

The parsonage when the building team left

Dedication of completed parsonage
During Max's visit Isaiah took him to a small chapel in near ruin in nearby Fipango.  Max provided materials and Isaiah and villagers rebuilt the chapel.

Fipango Chapel

New Fipango Chapel
Isaiah and church members subsequently built the Women's and Children's Center and the Bev Medical center.  The Learning Center is still under construction in nearby Kanyakas.  Micro-enterprise, job skills, tutoring, apprenticeship, food processing, recreation, spiritual and retreat activities take place in these buildings. The Bev Medical Center provides a safe place for women to birth their babies.

The Women's and Children's Center with a small pharmacy
The Sustainable Agriculture & Development (SA&D) program made possible through the United Methodist Committee On Relief (UMCOR) and initiated by Isaiah to improve food production, nutrition and enable self-sufficiency for the local residents.  This is a very popular train the trainer program, especially among women.  The Moringa tree program, known as the miracle tree, was developed ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moringa_oleifera.com ) and 500 seedlings were planted for future production of vitamin stabilizers and medicines.
Moringa Trees

Soybean crop

Raised Beds

10 year old farmer
Growing cassava melons
A farmer in the SA&D program learned new skills and adapted them enabling him to grow and sell vegetables.  He received a higher price for his produce since he joined the SA&D.  He motivated other farmers in the area and is educating them to new methods to increase crop yields and grow a variety of vegetables.

A lady farmer is growing vegetables including tomatoes and cabbage.  She has learned to make and use compost for the plants reducing the need for fertilizer and improve the health of the plants.  She reinvested most of her profits from selling vegetables to increase the size of her plot to plant Cassava melons.  SA&D members have learned to raise chickens and improved their diet with eggs.

Yvette, Isaiah's wife, teaches sewing, knitting, crocheting and the use of micro-credits to enable women to start their own business.  She leads women's literacy programs for those who cannot read, write or calculate.  Some women have started a sewing workshop.

Sewing class - note sad iron

The number of children and adults blessed by donations and Isaiah's and Yvette's work is immeasurable.  Many families are improving their nutrition and living conditions through education, SA&D and other programs instituted through Isaiah.  Although considerable progress has been made, there is more to do.  Together we can change lives.

To make a continuing impact and help change lives please donate by going to: GBGM in your browser. Click on Advance Project Search.  Enter project number: 3021036.  Click on find and follow directions.  You can alternately mail a check to:
The Advance GCFA, P.O. Box 9068, New York, NY 10087-9068.


Bev and Ed Wentz

U.S. Coordinators for Child Action Initiative
Western North Carolina Conference, Piedmont District
Oak Ridge United Methodist Church
Oak Ridge, NC 27310

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