Congolese women are very strong, determined, compassionate women. They love children. I could see this in their eyes and with their smiles at Chad and Ian when we passed them in the streets of Kinshasa. The orphanages are full of children due to illness, deaths, war, and extreme poverty. Not because it is a country of women who do not want to care for their children.
Congolese women carry water several times a day to their family. No, not little water bottles, I am talking big 5 gallon containers of water! And I am not talking about carrying them across the street, I am talking about miles to the closest stream, which could be several miles away. This makes me not so eager to complain when I have two gallons of milk to carry in from my van parked in my nice sheltered garage. They also are the ones who carry other supplies their family must use to survive. Sometimes they pack up to 150 pounds!!! All for the love of their family.
Many women must relocate because their house has been burnt to the ground or it is simply not safe enough for her and her family. They have no choice but to carry everything they have until they find safety.
But it is not the physical burdens that are the most stressful. It is the emotional burdens they must live through. Can you imagine seeing your children die of preventable disease?
Seeing your sister or mother die in childbirth.
Or even worse seeing your family violated
IN EVERY WAY
These women are very strong women. With our help they can do great things. I encourage you to read Lisa Shannon's book A Thousand Sisters. It will surely inspire you to sponsor a woman through Women for Women International.
If by chance you don't know who Lisa Shannon is, she is my hero! Shortly put, she was sitting on her couch watching Oprah one day. The topic was the D.R.C. the worst place in the world to be a woman. She was so moved by these women that she got her butt up and began training to run 30 miles. All to raise money and awareness for the women of the Congo. She has now been to visit her sponsored sisters and many more. You can read more about her here in a recent TIME magazine article: From Oprah to Congo: One Woman's Attempt to Save Thousands.
In the hopes that more people will be inspired to act and maybe sponsor a woman, I am giving away a copy of A Thousand Sisters! All you have to do is write me a message and I will enter you in a drawing. The name will be drawn on May 5th (Chad's 2nd Birthday!).
Now, I am going to go and write Simupate (my sponsored Congolese Sister, mother of 6 children) a letter and let her know that we care so much about her and all of the other Congolese women.