This blog post is the third in our series on learning, traveling, and empowerment. This is part three of a much bigger story of how Forgottensong came to be involved with our friends in the Congo.
In my humble opinion, communication is one of the lynchpins of productivity and stability, two of the things we strive for in our project planning. This season has proved to be one of the most exciting times we've ever had as an organization as not only have we firmly developed our mission and vision for how projects in war-torn countries look, but also how to efficiently execute their launch and reproducibility. It has also been one of the most creative times for us in communication as I speak little French and the leaders on the ground at AJDC speak even less English. (not discounting the hard work of French-speaking Rémy and Lauren, though :-) So what do I do? I turn to google translate. It certainly gets the point across but if you have ever used it, you know it is sometimes a dire situation with complex thoughts. Nonetheless, I copy and paste into translate and then see what pops up. Lately, I have been amazed at what appears when I press "translate" on a message from AJDC.
We are deep into the heart of our project that we launched just a few months ago and we've already seen a second round of fundraising come in for more goats from friends like Steve Adams and his incredible efforts in Dallas. As a result, we are seeing more and more children being empowered who were once child soldiers or brides in the militias of South Kivu, and every report, every "translation" inspires me to dig in and keep going when I learn of yet another young man or woman who's dreams are being now actively pursued as they leave the militias. The most important translation, however, came during one of the last nights we had in the Congo this past March when I asked our partner, David, what his life would look like in 20 years if everything went his way. Expecting to hear about a nice house and a car and good job, I listened passively to his French as he responded to Rémy. His answer: in 20 years, I hope there are no more child soldiers in the Congo as a result of our work... I was stunned. How can he even dream that? How does he look past himself toward the benefit of so many others? Then it hit me, some things are not translatable with words alone, but rather an understanding of life experience. David was also once a child soldier. I assume it is his understanding of their plight that drives him, and this isn something I do not have, nor ever will. But I do have Thierry and David, and as partners they translate the experiences and the success and challenges to us and we do our best to translate them to you. Together we are forming a team, one that is complicated but by the grace of God is working and working in big ways. We pray for David's dreams to come true and we hope that along the way, we can communicate his dreams well.