Idjwi is an island situated in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo on lake Kivu. It’s the second largest African island after Madagascar with a population exceeding 300,000 people. The island is divided into north and south, with a traditional king for each.
Lake Kivu is a very long, very deep lake with an immense methane pocket. The water is slightly saline and in certain regions (Bukavu) raw sewage is dumped into the lake. Many people still drink from the lake as they have very difficult and sometimes dangerous access to clean drinking water.
The southern tip of the island is closer by boat to Bukavu and is incredibly wild and beautiful with very fertile soil. It’s also incredibly poor with most people living below the subsistence level. The North is closer to Goma and is also poor, but is progressing in a much healthier way with tourist resorts and businesses on lake Kivu. Outskirts are still poor with little infrastructure and challenges with drinking water.
WOGI’s plan was to bring in 400 tanks to be distributed through both islands to the most vulnerable i.e. Those who drink water from the lake. As permission for free passage was taking far too long to materialize, I took the risk and asked that 100 x 2000 litres tanks be sent from our supplier in Kigali, Rwanda to Idjwi, so that I’d be able to meet them there on arrival in March 2022 and start getting them into place before the rains were over.
Sadly our partners (Catholic priests with an association called RAIDCO) mismanaged the project, distributing many tanks to the less vulnerable (those who had piped water), not letting people know that the tanks are for drinking water and that they remain the property of our association. For these reasons and others (such as the theft of a tank by a nun named Bernadette, and two tanks being misdirected by another priest named Justin and our former partners supporting them), we decided to terminate the project.
It seems like a rare thing to find honest, trustworthy people in the DRC, especially amongst the clergy…
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