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September 19, 2021

Dispatches from the Congo – A Journey of Love (Part 8)

Bonjour from Kinshasa! Kinshasa used to be known as Kinshasa La Belle — Kinshasa the Beautiful. Now, it’s known as Kinshasa La Poubelle — Kinshasa the Garbage Can. It’s a very apt description. This city is wearing on me a bit. What was new and exciting for the first 5 days or so begins to get old after the first week. The power outages aren’t helping — the internet is my lifeline to the outside world! I think the hardest thing about this city is that I always feel dirty — like no matter how much I scrub, I’ll never…

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Dispatches from the Congo – A Journey of Love (Part 7)

By Erin Pohland Good evening from Kinshasa! As I write, there is a dance party happening on the street in front of my hotel.  Luckily, Andrew is a good sleeper — too bad his mama is not. Today was relatively uneventful, as far as things go.  We had no appointments and nowhere to be.  Instead, we spent the day with our new American friend “J”, that works at the UN.  After getting up for breakfast, a bath and then a nap, J picked us up at the hotel.  It was SO nice to be in the car with a non-native…

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Dispatches from the Congo – A Journey of Love (Part 6)

Greetings from the DRC- Andrew and I had a rough day — harder on him, unfortunately. It started at 3 a.m. when he woke up screaming. He seemed freaked out by both me and his surroundings — like he didn’t get why he wasn’t in Goma and why I wasn’t his foster mom. I walked around with him for a while, and then genius struck — Cheerios! And because my kid is an addict, he immediately calmed down at the sight of his snack container. So that was that….until I tried to go back to sleep, and he began to…

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Dispatches from the Congo – A Journey of Love (Part 5)

~Andrew and Rev. Bashaka By Erin Pohland It’s night in Kinshasa.  I know I live in Alaska, so I’m not a good judge of darkness, but it gets dark so early here!  By 5:30, it seems to be pretty dark.  It doesn’t help that there aren’t any street lights or very many buildings with electricity, I suppose. Andrew is napping — we had a BIG day again today!  I was pleasantly surprised to learn that he sleeps through the night.  He actually napped for 4.5 hours yesterday afternoon, until 8:30 p.m., got up and ate (a vanilla yogurt, which he…

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Dispatches from the Congo – A Journey of Love (Part 4)

~Kinshasa   Forget whatever I told you last night….I love the Congo! Well, more importantly, I love my son — he is just the sweetest little thing. But I really am finding myself loving Kinshasa despite the overwhelming poverty and dispair. The people are just amazingly friendly — it’s been fantastic. I woke up bright and early this morning so I could be ready to meet Andrew. Reverend Bashaka brought him to the hotel along with Timothee, a local woman whose name I didn’t catch, and his foster mother Sarah. He was dressed for Alaska — those red shorts from…

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Dispatches from the Congo – A Journey of Love (Part 3)

By Erin Pohland On October 15, 2010, my world changed forever:  it’s a boy!!  I listened with wonder to the news of my little one:  10 months old and healthy.  Due to lack of medical care and extreme, crushing poverty, his mother had died as a result of childbirth, just 8 days after giving birth to my baby boy.  His father, an itinerant farmer, didn’t have any way of caring for his son.  Through these very tragic circumstances, I received the gift of a lifetime: my son! I was the first adoptive family for the Congo for my agency, and we…

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Dispatches from the Congo – A Journey of Love (Part 2)

By Erin Pohland [Read Part One HERE] After choosing to join a pilot program and adopt from the Congo rather than Ethiopia, I broke the news somewhat gingerly, aware that such news might not be welcome. The reaction was mixed. Friends and family members who were more savvy about world affairs were immediately worried; the Congo is not exactly the place where you want to send someone you care about for a few days, let alone an extended period of time. A certain loved one (who shall remain nameless) is an avid Fox News viewer. Given that Fox News doesn’t…

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Dispatches from the Congo – a Journey of Love (Part 1)

By Erin Pohland “We’re opening a pilot program in the Congo.  Would you consider being one of our first families?” With those words, my life changed.  The Congo — the so-called “heart of darkness,” the rape capital of the world, and one of the most dangerous and impoverished countries in the world. I said yes. Less than a year after that conversation, I was on a plane to get my son. I had made the decision to adopt in February of that year, after consulting with various doctors and doing a lot of soul-searching.  While I may very well be…

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