These photos were taken by last year’s NCC team to Congo.

You’ve heard all about Joseph Kony and Invisible Children’s quest to find him. But, did you know that finding Kony won’t solve the problem? He is just one of many corrupt leaders in the Congo and surrounding areas. 

Its nice that IC wants to lock him down once and for all but the more I read, the more I’m learning that some Western organization or military can’t just march into this country and “fix” things. If you catch Kony, there’s just 10 more people waiting to take his place — including another corrupt leader being hunted this very minute named Boscoe Ntaganda.

This is bigger than that. It’s not cut and dry. It’s layered and complicated and even the “good guys” in Congo might  be considered “bad guys” here in America. We can’t fix this. Only the Congolese can do that and there’s not clear pathway.  It takes bravery, it takes grit, it will take risking their lives to come up against the corruption that currently exists.

And while it’s sure been cool to see the Syrian people and others in the Arab Spring rise up against their own government’s corruption through social media in the past year — Congo doesn’t have that option. And, no matter how many times you tweet a video of Joseph Kony out  — you aren’t really going to help. It takes more and it also takes a better understanding of what’s happening and how you can see a light at the end of the tunnel for Congo. The following excerpt is a good one to read on this:

The decisions made by western policy-makers affect hundreds of thousands of people in three different countries in areas neglected by their own government. Who are these policy makers accountable to? Facebook users? Western citizens? The governments of the countries affected? Or the very people who are victim of the violence? 
 Unfortunately, the latter live in areas abandoned by their governments; they do not have access to the Internet, social medias or newspapers and are voiceless in decisions, which primarily affect them. Grass roots organisations such as religious institutions, local leaders, civil society organisations should be involved in design, implementation and monitoring of humanitarian, development and political strategies which affect the population.
I recommend reading the whole post. Those who become involved with the Congo start to realize the change must come from the inside very quickly. In the following video, produced by the Eastern Congo Initiative, you can hear that sentiment from nearly everyone:

Yesterday, we had another meeting for our team. Less than two months till I’m on a plane to Congo. We filled out our Visas for Burundi — where we will fly to — and then drive across the border to Congo. It feels unreal. I’ve been waiting 9 years to go back to Africa and it’s finally here.

But this time feels different. This time, I know the people I’m going to. I can tell you about their history, I have read about their pain, I have an investment in their welfare. I know that Congo will be on my heart and in my action for the rest of my life. I so appreciate a wonderful team that developed a true heart for this country last year when they went. Their genuine enthusiasm and care for trying to help make a difference is contagious.

Lastly, we get to work with kids. If anyone is going to be a part of changing the direction of the Congo, it’s got to start with the kids. As sappy as that Whitney Houston song is — “I believe the children are our future — teach them well and let them lead the way.” For Congo, that must be.

*If you’d like to donate to my trip to the Congo, please click HERE.

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