We were so excited to meet Georgette, and the training would not have been successful without her. On the first day as we discussed eating in pregnancy the women complained that they could not eat well because they did not have money. I was getting ready to give a rehearsed answer about doing the best you can when Georgette said she was going to tell them eating well was not having money. She talked for fifteen minutes, going back and forth with the women in what we can only assume was the best nutrition talk many of them have ever heard. Georgette had studied Agriculture at the high school, she knew what she was talking about. We never doubted her after that, and many times she took the lead in discussing topics with the women.

During the breaks we would try to help Georgette be prepared for the next session, but once the music started her body rocked and she had to go dance. Here she is during a dancing game where everyone has to find something to put on their head.

On Sunday, Georgette brought her children to the church service to meet us. The baby is on her back.

Her husband joined us during church; and we went to their home for lunch.

This bowel is used to make banana juice.

We love her family, and tried to convince her to visit us in the United States. We don’t know if she will, she thought most of the stuff we told her about was funny; like shower curtains, why would you get a curtain wet? If we come back next year she will help us teach again.

The last day we handed out the supplies we brought and had a lottery. The last item we gave was a teaching kit. It was our gift to Georgette so she will continue to teach the women of Congo about woman’s health. I think she cried for five minutes straight.

She rode with us to Bukavu when we left to spend a few extra hours with us. She helped us buy dresses and taught us to wrap our hair like a Congolese woman. To do this meant she would have to pay for a ride home on a motorbike or on the back of a brick truck. She only goes to town every three weeks or so, it was a big deal for her to do this.

I miss her already.

Jennifer Vanderlaan (Author)