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By Louise Ekoto Omadjela
July 29, 2020 Kinshasa DRCongo

The first case of COVID-19 (coronavirus) in my community located in the Democratic Republic of the Congo was registered on March 10, 2020 when a man coming from Europe tested positive.

Coronavirus is a disease that infects people easily and kills many. Prevention of the disease often requires lockdown (quarantine) which has caused many people to lose their work.

Many people have been infected with the virus, according to the report given by the government every day since March 2020; yet many people did not believe that our community also was affected. 

Because of that situation, the government made the decision to keep people at home as a way to stop the spread of the virus, but many people could not stay home. Where there is limited electricity and money, people cannot store food supplies. Without a daily wage, there is no daily bread. There are no local food assistance programs. Here in my community, if people do not work, the families will die of hunger.

“I am at home since March,” said Josephine Akonga who works as a housemaid for a French citizen. Her boss went back to France at the beginning of the pandemic here in Kinshasa and has not returned up to now. “I am renting a house, and now all my warranty [rent money] is finished. I have been borrowing money from all over to feed my family,” she said. “I do not know what to do, but I have hope God will help me to find another job, because I do not know if my former boss is alive or not.”

Jean Lokaso said, “I am about to be chased out of my house, because three months ago I did not pay my rent. I lost my job during April because of the COVID-19.  I am father of three, but feeding them becomes a problem now. I do not know what to do.” he added.

COVID-19 brought problems in businesses also. “We have a great depreciation of Congolese Franck compared to US dollars and so many business men or women have challenges in buying goods for their shops. After selling your goods, it becomes difficult to replace what you sold. We are taking a big loss,” said Andrien Kanku, a shop owner in our area.  “It becomes difficult to do our job and when we increase the price, our client is not able to buy,” he insisted.

Harper Hill Global has provided small grants for help in this area. Read about it, and give so that Louise and Women Arise Collective representative Rev. Suzanne Donasho may continue their critical work of food for the body, mind and spirit.