Amani, who founded ABFEK, Action Kivu’s partner in Congo, and is a true community builder, responding to the needs of the women and children with innovative programs. To do his work safely and sustainably, Amani needs an SUV.
Action Kivu’s founders Cate Haight and Rebecca Snavely visited Amani and ABFEK’s wonderful work in January 2012, and witnessed, first hand, the danger of driving during rainy season in the overcrowded vans that serve as buses. After nearly sliding off a mountain road, Cate and Rebecca hired an SUV for the rest of the trip. But that expense is too much for ABFEK to handle on a daily basis.
To monitor the programs in Bukavu and the surrounding villages, Amani and his staff wait on dirt roads overcrowded with people, trucks and buses. The heavy, humid air is filled with dust from the dirt road and exhaust from the cars and trucks that narrowly miss people’s sandal-clad feet. The women wear long skirts in bright colors and beautifully busy patterns, carry fruit, a jerrycan of water or a basket on their heads, and wait for overcrowded buses that have no schedule to run on. When it’s muddy during the rainy season, the buses slip-slide through the sludge, getting stuck in the ruts, skidding sideways and putting passengers’ lives in jeopardy. This is their reality, and without a 4×4, when the roads are rain-washed, plans are canceled and work comes to a grinding halt.
Take a look at one of our many rides, lovingly nicknamed a “Congo massage,” through Bukavu, on the road to Panzi hospital, out to the even rougher roads on our way to Mumosho. Amani narrates: