Congo: A break from the action
By: 22996 Jason Kalincak – G35 Deputy, MONUNSCO FHQ
In the democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), a country where the most grievous rights violations are a daily occurrence, it is hard for anyone to feel optimistic about the future, yet amidst all of the poverty, there still exist some beacons of hope. The members of Op Crocodile recently had the opportunity to take some some time out of their busy schedules to extend a small gesture of love on behalf of generous Canadian donors, to one of these beacons, the Tulizeni Orphanage in Goma.
While this was my first time at the orphanage, it was not for many of my fellow Canadians. There is a Canadian United Nations Volunteer, Gabrielle Biron from Montreal, who comes out every weekend to volunteer at the orphanage, and several of the other task force members, who make the time to visit once a month to play with the children. Sometimes they treat the kids and bring out a laptop and borrow a projector from work to show them a movie. Other times they bring candies or toys donated wither from their own pockets, or from other g4nerous Canadians. You could see in the children’s eyes, and those of the staff, how much they appreciated having us visit, a gesture of compassion and generosity that is sadly not embraced by many other countries involved in this United Nations mission.
On this day, after the singing had settled down and the tour completed, the task force commander, 18842 Col Pierre ‘Pete’ Huet, on behalf of Canadian donors, and along side the members of Op Crocodile, presented a large cheque donation of $2783 (American funds) ($4,000 Canadian funds before conversion). to the Tulizeni Orphanage.
The excitement of the kids and gratitude of the staff radiated and, not surprisingly, triggered the next round of singing and excitement. There was so much energy that the kids swarmed around Col Huet and hilariously attempted to pick him up and put him on their shoulders to carry him around as they cheered. After the handshaking and the many gestures of thanks, they saw us off with big smiles and waves as we departed to get back to our primary task of combatting armed groups and protecting civilian in the DRC.
Readers who would like to make a difference in the lives of these orphans, can contact the task force adjutant – MONUSCO-HQ-DCOSOpsCoord@un.org