Bukavu Book Bonanza

A humbling experience

DAVID Annis opened the event with a talk about life in Bukavu, in the Democratic Republic of Congo. He gave a slide presentation, which showed the work that he and his wife, Revd Dr Jenny Annis, have been doing over several years. Nicholas Griffin was also on hand to answer any questions about the Congo Project in Bukavu Diocese, and the building of the cathedral library there. Bukavu is an extremely poor area and has suffered due to persistent conflicts and the sheer disregard of human dignity, especially towards women, with rape being used as a weapon of war. The rape victims can earn a living by sewing colourful shirts and dresses on old manual sewing machines, which have been donated by St Davids Diocese. By selling their merchandise, the women can raise money to support themselves and their families. The Congolese women also use recycled plastic packaging binding to make beautiful shopping baskets, which are then soldat market. We also heard about the challenges faced by children having to walk for miles to go to school and having to pay for education. The young men or ‘boy soldiers’ are taught woodworking skills by David in his workshop. Jenny works with the rape victims. There was an exhibition, and sale, of ethnically crafted African dolls and animals, which proved immensely popular. David displayed colourful shirts which he had been given to wear when leading services in Bukavu, where people are joyful, love worshipping and always thankful for all their blessings. After the presentation we felt discomfited that, in our country, we have so much, and we are still not content, whereas the people of Bukavu are grateful for everything that they receive. It is humbling that all the equipment and items which have been donated, second-hand, are being put to such effective use. When sufficient funds have been raised, a container, of books and other items, will be sent on its long journey to Bukavu. A big thank you to everyone who supported the Book Bonanza to raise funds for the Congo Project and who gave so generously of their time. All donations have been gratefully received.