Why MAMA MUNDELE?
„Happiness is the only thing we can give without having it“
-Why MAMA MUNDELE?
Mama mundele – means „WHITE MUM“ and comes from Lingala language, which has been used in some areas of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
In October 2011 I visited the Democratic Republic of Congo. While travelling through this beautiful country, I tried to visit lots of small villages and get to know local habits and traditions. As I was travelling with my husband who is Congo national, the access to locals was easier. But like if citizen of Prague comes to Moravia, neither my husband knew all the local habits and he himself sometimes looked like a foreigner coming from different world.
Today I understand how the African man feels when coming to the Czech village or a small town and hear everywhere around almost inaudible but clear enough „black man, look mum, black man“. People of Congo are more imminent, therefore from inaudible word „mundele“ (in translation „white“) becomes very soon loud cheering accompanied by laugh and examining myself from head to heels without any shyness. Married women in African countries, Congo included, has been often called mama (in translation „mummy“) while it´s not important if they are mothers or not. In short, if you are of a certain age to be a mother, it is polite to call you – and each woman - mama. Therefore our whole month long journey was accompanied by shouting „mama mundele“ (white mum) or „mundele mama“ and I think that on many places I was the first mama mundele that the local children has seen. From this journey, which led from the area of Kinshasa to the coast to city Muanda and a slightly different route back, I brought lots of uncommon experiences and also the idea to help local poor children, which has just started being realised now.
HOW DID WE GET THE IDEA AND WHAT ARE THE LOCAL ISSUES
„Every noble work is at first…impossible “
During our journey through the Democratic Republic of Congo we experienced many new experiences and saw many human destinies. We travelled mostly by car which enabled us to stop in lots of small villages and towns where the buses doesn´t stop at all. Like in other countries, also in Congo there is a huge difference between life in village and in the town.
Villages are missing the basic needs and people are accustomed to walk long distances for work purpose, purchase, sale or to school. You can see children in the clothes which do not suit to their age or is not functional already. Near the road, there are girls playing with doll without head and boys running with old moldy tire, becuase there are no other better toys here. In schools, which are paid by families, there is only a poor equipment and the desks are holding together only by willpower.
Our first bigger stop was in the Boma town, there we had a chance to live in local rectory, which was joined to school. Here we were enabled to familiarise ourselves with local issues of schools and education. First and biggest problem is,
of course, charging of even primary schools, which brings the parents to uneasy decision: which children or if even at least one child will attend the school. Tuition is not the only issue parents have to face, but they also need to buy the school uniform and all school supplies and this is not always possible for a family with many children. Therefore it happens, that parents prioritize boys to girls when choosing who will study.
We had also chance to talk to teachers who have only little income and work often in inconvenient conditions with limited devices for teaching.
We visited local orphanage in the Boma town which is operated by nuns and which exists mostly due to help of other people and local charity led by diocese.
Here we firstly met bishop Cyprien Mbuko, who helped us with better understanding of local issues. I had thought of helping to poor African people before, but here this possibility came to us itself – through bishop´s appeal - and we didn´t need to look for it. During a long discussion on this topic, we agreed upon similar thoughts based on cooperation and promised to try to realise these ideas.
zleva - zástupce Bomského biskupa, za náš tým Emmanuel Ndombasi , ředitelka Bomské základní školy a její zástupce
kolo je pro mnoho lidí důležitý dopravní prostředek a na jednom kole jezdí mnohdy celá vesnice
děti si vyhrají opravdu se vším děti bez domova z města Bomy si přivydělávají drobnou prací
zastaralé a nevyhovující školní vybavení
lidé často pěšky putují na velké vzdálenosti