Happy New Year!
It is a blessing for me to have the opportunity to write these words today.
Congo is a very difficult place. At HEAL Africa, we have witnessed the daily presence and power of God in our activities. We have seen HEAL Africa grow over time. I remember being a young Medical Resident working in a four-room clinic to the complex it is today. We also can’t forget the day everything we built suddenly disappear at the eruption of a volcano. And then rebuilt by the generosity of friends from around the world. We have seen physical change and transformation in our workplace, but we have also seen it in the lives of people in eastern DRC. Because of our approach to healing the “whole” person, we have seen women and children rehabilitated and thrive. Former vulnerable and isolated women have been enabled to care for their children. Income-generating skills learned at HEAL Africa has allowed them to feed their children and pay for school fees.
I am always inspired by the story of young doctors who began their careers as Residents at HEAL Africa. Many are now serving the organization at different position. Although I am now humbled by the position of CEO at HEAL Africa, it is impossible to forget my first day as a Resident of Family Medicine in 2000. We are happy to announce that we will begin 2018 by welcoming Dr. Cathy FURAHA and Dr. Marlene MAPENZI, two women who have finished the long journey of achieving medical specialization. Dr. Cathy FURAHA will be the very first woman qualified as an Obstetrician and Gynecologist in this region. We are proud, indeed.
We also begin our new year with thanksgiving. We have opened the new Tuungane School, funded by Southern Baptist Mission of Philadelphia, USA. We are in the process of building a new much-needed pavilion for women and children, who are the most vulnerable in DRC, thanks to the Preik Family Foundation. The Fistula Foundation has donated the construction of new and improved Fistula Care Wing.
Operating an organization in DRC does not come without challenges. But we will continue to commit to the vision of HEAL Africa’s founders, Dr. Jo and his late wife, Lyn Lusi. Thousands of people are still living in desperate conditions in DRC. We will not give up the fight for their hope and healing. We are grateful for your eagerness to act and join us in our journey. We also covet your prayers, as it is often the only way we get through our daily challenges.
It is providential that we have all reached the end of one year and onto a new one. I pray that this year will be filled with blessing, good health, and meaning for you each of you.
Justin Paluku, MD
CEO, HEAL Africa DRC