Denis’ Story: Healing in the Congo
It’s been a long time since his parents died, leaving him orphaned, afraid and alone; and he’s grateful that he’s not triggered anymore by the wails and sobs of these women and children.
Not so long ago, strangers could enter your village and be greeted with a smile and a warm meal. But today, things are different. Life in Congo is governed by another truth: brutality. Uncertainty and fear seem to have won. The active volcano that smolders in the distance is the perfect summation of today’s reality. War and Ebola lurk around the entire city of Goma.
But for Denis, today begins like every other day over the last 23 years. The spring in his step defies his 70 years of age, forcing his young staff to work hard just to keep up as he weaves his way through tarps, bamboo scaffolding, and corrugated tin.
“I have to teach them the way back to peace” he says to himself as his mind and body push him deeper into the extreme poverty of his community. “They are our future, the kings of tomorrow.”
Empowering the future generations
Denis harnesses his strength, passion, and memory to invite others to the world he once knew and still believes is possible. He is training the future leaders of his community about leadership, values, and trauma healing. He’s teaching them the way back to peace, confident that someday, their wails and sobs – much like his own – will turn into action.
Denis is the engine of African Leadership in Congo. His leadership, strategic planning, and vision of what life can look like empowers a network of 9 country staff and board, more than 50 teachers and 500 students across 20 communities. His life’s work is giving future generations a taste of what life was like so many years ago – and what he believes it will be like again.