Uganda: book convoy sets out for Congo

Later this month, the Missionary News Service reports, an unusual shipment of humanitarian aid is crossing over the border between Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo: over six tonnes of books. (2 February 2000)  "These books are destined for the young people of the Congolese Catholic diocese of Wamba", Comboni Missionary Fr Franco Laudani explained.

Fr Franco said: "On 20 February I will leave the Ugandan capital on a truck with 30,000 educational books. "Our intent is to put them at the disposal of around 7,000 primary school children, mainly from the Pigmy ethnic group, in the remote Congolese region of Ituri". After departing from Kampala, where the texts were printed, the truck will travel 600km to the Congolese city of Beni. From there, part of the load � two tonnes � will be transferred by land to the Catholic mission of Mambasa; the remaining four tonnes will be transported from Beni to Wamba, via Isiro, by plane.

"There are three textbooks for every two children", explained Fr Franco. The books are first readers and arithmetics books, with some teaching guides. The project has financed by the German 'Misereor' agency. "Education is fundamental if we want to give Congo a future" said Fr Franco.

"It is useless to continue talking about democracy, respect for human rights and civil society, if energies are not invested in education and literacy. If hunger for education is not satisfied, it kills even more silently than physical starvation. Those who kill in these outskirts of the world, do it out of ignorance and there is only one anecdote to stop them, culture". There are about 35,000 Pygmy in the Diocese of Wamba. In all of ex-Zaire they are 200,000. Source: MISNA

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