Drum, dance and smile: the Congolese explosion of energy

Last Sunday around noon, Gaston, Mimi and I stepped into the little yard of 'PECS' center (Projet d'Entraide pour la Chaîne de Solidarité) for street children. The boys were excitingly running around, playing football, washing their clothes and gently fighting as young boys do.

Most of them live a hard life in the streets of Kinshasa. Some of them take drugs, most of them are hungry. But on Sunday, they all come to PECS center to have a meal, to rest, to wash themselves... they become children again. The lucky ones (28 of them) can actually live in the center and get sponsorships to continue their studies.

Despite this hard reality, we were incredible surprised by their strengths. As soon as we came in, they started playing the drum and dancing in a spontaneous but well arranged choreography! They already performed in front of the president's wife and on TV in traditional costumes.

With incredible smiles (white bright and radiant), the rhythm of the drums moves through their bodies. A real explosion of energy! For a few minutes they are just brothers, they are joyful and happy... We also dance (especially Gaston who does break-dance) with them. Rhythm is really a universal language when you can tune yourself to the rhythm of others.

During the 10 days I spend in DR-Congo, I learned a lot from Congolese people. They are joyful and have a lot of energy. When this energy is channeled to 'constructive' activities, amazing things happen.

The SALT teams in Yolo and Kinbanseke have stimulated big changes in their own communities. For example in Yolo where the AIDS Competence Process was introduced mid-2006, testing went up from 621 people tested in 2006 to 1.300 tested in 2007! Kinbanseke works a lot with disabled people -especially blind- to stimulate them to respond to HIV and access information and condoms. When we saw Dr. Fidèle Benda on the last day he said: "This approach really changed my life..."

Thanks to Mimi for being a driving force of PECS, thanks to RDCCompetence for inspiring teams in the whole country and in the world!

Visit at Yolo with an association of People Living with HIV.

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Comment by Laurence Gilliot on July 12, 2009 at 11:17pm
I filmed the team in Yolo explaining how that change took place... but the video is in french. I'll try to subtitle it! Soon soon in the video section!
Comment by MariJo on July 12, 2009 at 6:46pm
Drums, dance and smile... it seems to me that if could provide this 'medicine' to all the children in the world we soon would have a healthy next generation full of new energies and ready to put their strengths in action.
I almost can hear the activity around by looking at the pictures.
And I agree with Rituu: it would be interesting to know how that change happened.
Comment by Rituu B. Nanda on July 12, 2009 at 3:47pm
Thanks for putting the full form of PECS!
Comment by Rituu B. Nanda on July 12, 2009 at 3:47pm
Great piece and vibrant pictures Lau. Thanks. In Yolo, you say that testing arose after ACP was introduced. Commendable. Please share the process how you arrived at these figures. Was a baseline done etc. Would appreciate some more on this. Thanks.


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