Saturday, June 18, 2011

Congo: 'The Worst Place on Earth for Women"

"Congo’s child death rate is twice that of sub-Saharan Africa, which is already the highest in the world. Fifteen hundred people continue to die every day as a result of the war. In fact, less than one-half of one percent of the war-related deaths in Congo are violent. The vast majority of the deaths are due to the war’s aftershocks, primarily easily curable illnesses. Almost half of the deaths are children under the age of five." - Lisa Shannon

In 2005, Lisa Shannon is shocked after watching an episode on Oprah about Congo. Determined to make a difference, she runs 30 miles to raise money for Congolese women and begins the movement, Run for Congo Women. She leaves everything behind, (her fiancé, job, house, family) to help Congolese women. She truly is a munificent woman  that has touched the hearts of many and is beloved to Congolese women.

So I read "A Thousand Sisters" by Lisa Shannon that details her courageous journey into Congo to help women who suffer from the various atrocities committed by rivaling militias that raid villages indiscriminately killing women, children (even babies), and men, burn down houses, loot the villages, and rape a majority of the women (to the point that one individual in the book said rape was cultural).

“You don’t consider rape a security threat for returning refugees?”

"Rape here is so common,” she says. “It's cultural. 

Truly the barbarity that occurs in Congo are appalling.  In Shannon's account, one woman, Generose, saw her husband shot to death, had her leg chopped off with a machete, and saw her son refuse to eat a piece of her and he was, thus, shot. There are many horrors permeating throughout their lives, and yet...

Despite all the crimes committed against them, despite all their losses, despite all their fears,  they manage to forge a community filled with love. Many women, although they have nothing, still take in orphaned children and try their best to care for them.  They push forward and make the most of what they have,  share what little they possess,  and value what matters most: one another.

Please watch this short video. It's remarkable.

Also visit:

On the site, you can learn more about the sisters, a bit about the history of what's transpiring in Congo, about what you can do to help, read news articles, and even read her blog! Definitely check it out.

Note: I had some amazing quotes I hoped to shared but since my kindle is now defective, apparently none of my highlights registered online (wonderful). In any case, please check out her book. It truly is inspirational.

"Congo is one of my favorite places on Earth. You have the worst of humanity, and the best of humanity." -Zainab Salbi, Women for Women International Founder

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