“All I want is for an end to this war so my family can return to our village,” said Sophie Kenzia.
The people of eastern Democratic Republic of Congo were just aching to go home. They wanted safety, a dry bed and regular meals. What they got was rape, killing or a grim life in camps as they tried to escape fighting between the government and rebels.
Sophie fled with her four children to a camp supported by Caritas. Tragically, she had a miscarriage on the journey.
Caritas appealed for US $5.5 million to help 150,000 people like Sophie. Caritas distributed food and provided clothes, household items and toiletries to help people cover their basic needs.
In December, Caritas brought a delegation of Congolese bishops to Washington, the UN in New York, Paris, Brussels, and Rome to plead for an end to the war. “End the killing fields,” the bishops urged. Rapes, targeted killings and forced recruitment of child soldiers contributed to the massive scale of suffering.
Caritas provided psychologists to help people deal with their pain. It began reintegrating child soldiers and provided medical help and counselling to rape victims.
As the year ended, many of the people of Congo had not gone home. Bishop Faustin Ngabu of Goma, while handing out blankets, told the people, “I know what Caritas has brought today will not remove all of your suffering, but we hope it will alleviate some of it.”