Lyn Lusi was the heart of HEAL Africa. Everybody called her “Mama” She was like a mother to the 400 employees of HEAL Africa and to the thousands and thousands of women, children, and men for whom HEAL Africa provided care. Lyn passed away in Goma, DR Congo on the evening of March 17, 2012. One patient in HEAL Africa’s ward, upon hearing the news of her passing, reflected on her legacy of compassion and generosity by observing, “ We are missing her so badly, but we know now she is in a better place. We will never forget what she did for us and for our country.
Lyn first traveled from England to the DR Congo (formerly Zaire) in 1971, where she began to work as a teacher with the Baptist Missionary Society. In 1974, she fell in love and married a Congolese physician, Dr. Kasereka M “Jo” Lusi. The couples combined skill in medicine, education, and administration led them to serve for 19 years in northeastern Congo’s Nyankunde Hospital as well as several associated schools. Even then, Jo and Lyn dedicated themselves to training young national doctors.
In 1996 Lyn, Jo, and others decided to choose Goma, DR Congo as the site for a new work dedicated to training young national doctors. By 1999 Lyn had earned her Master’s in Human Resource Development and Training. Lyn began applying her formidable skills to develop not only a medical training center by also a place capable of healing and supporting victims of rape and violence.
In 2002 when a local volcano destroyed the original hospital, not only was the hospital rebuilt but the program expanded and met more and more of the needs of eastern DR Congo. In 2006 the organization took the name of HEAL Africa. Lyn forged friendships and relationships that spanned the globe in service of the people who lived in eastern DR Congo. Despite serious challenges due to the region’s economic impoverishment, political destabilization, and natural disasters HEAL Africa became and remained a beacon of hope and healing. Lyn wanted people not only to survive their various traumas, but she helped them rebuild their lives. Today there are thousands whose lives were changed by their encounters this women who led by serving.
Lyn Lusi succumbed to cancer at the age of 62. She left behind her loving husband, Jo, son Paluku with his wife and son, daughter Nadine, four sisters, and thousands of friends and colleagues who loved her. She was laid to rest in Butembo, North Kivu, the area from which the Lusi family originated. Some of Lyn’s last words were: “Tell them not to cry”. To the end she was thinking of how to comfort others.
And now her legacy of service is entrusted to those who remain.