We are in the midst of a building project. It is exciting at this point to watch the bright red roof go up. It will be a real landmark here at Kikongo. It is always inspiring to see our collective vision for a nice women’s dorm taking shape.
Since we have upgraded to university level, we have had the challenge of housing single women.
We have provisionally housed the women in a building we have used in the past as a nursery. Rita has described it as a “hot house”. It is not very adequate as a dorm.
When we returned to Congo after our year of home assignment, we knew we would have the challenge of building a women’s dorm. We were not sure how we were going to manage, but our administrator introduced us to three men who had just completed building a medical dispensary in a nearby village. We really don’t have skilled builders here at Kikongo, so we were happy that these men showed up.
We are very pleased with the builders, and the new dorm is definitely being built to last. We have tried to incorporate much of the brainstorming aspects the staff and girls pooled before the building was started. The girls suggested some personal storage space, so we are building shelves which can be locked. We have added a veranda at each end of the building so that the girls can have an outside visiting space. We have also added glass bricks to let the light in along the hallway. It will all be practical and pretty.
The building project has been a real communal effort. Without a vehicle to carry supplies and without a local home depot there have been significant challenges. The sand has had to be harvested from the river. Canoes carry the sand to the bank where it is carried in buckets up the hill. We discovered that there are rocks not far from here. These also came up on top of people’s heads. Other building material had to be purchased in Kinshasa and trucked to Kikongo. Our last truck trip took three weeks. The truck we hired had mechanical difficulties. That combined with the poor roads made the trip difficult. If a building supply comes up lacking, it can take a long time to get resupplied. We can’t just drop in at a hardware store.
In addition to building a new dorm, we have made some improvements to the existing dorm. We put solar lighting in each of the two rooms. They have a reading light for the evening. A light that can stay on all night, as well as an outside light. For the lighting, each of the two rooms has a 12 volt battery and a solar panel to charge the batteries.
There is still lots to do before we are satisfied with the women’s living conditions. We need to purchase rain water gutters, and some large plastic cisterns so that they can have running water. We want to build a kitchen area so that they don’t have to cook outside on the ground. We also hope to build some more permanent bathroom facilities. The long-term project is to connect the two buildings with a walkway. Finally, we want to put a fence around the whole women’s space to give them a private and controlled home away from home.
You too can share in this exciting communal effort to improve the lives of future African leaders.
Glen and Rita
Thanks to all of you who pray, care and support the Chapmans. God continues to do amazing work through their lives. We invite you to be part of the future of the Democratic Republic of the Congo as you partner in supporting the work of the Chapmans and the new dormitory for women. Your continued support of Glen and Rita allows them to be there and to serve and equip people to share the love of Christ in their world.