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A Dream Come True

Center with Satellite Dish for Internet

My dream has become a reality. We just held the Grand Opening for our second Maman Shujaa Center - this one in the High Plains of Itombwe; a very remote area of our province, to serve women and their communities.

Itombwe is the area of East Congo where I was born, and it has been 20 years since I was home. My U.S. visitors said it is one of the most beautiful places they'd ever seen, saying it has an “epic feel” with the deep valleys and steep hills and the vast Itombwe forest in the distance on both sides. To me it is very special just because it is home. Many people had gathered at the Center for our arrival. It was wonderful to be welcomed home in such a big, big way.

Our builder did a great job building the first phase of the Center – about 1300 square feet. When the second phase of the construction is finished at the end of September, the Center will be 2000 square feet. I have attached a photo of a Gazebo full of swings that we started, and a picture of what it will look like when finished, except ours will have a grass-hut style roof. We want to promote “couple” respect and appreciation. You see how in the photo of the Grand Opening ceremony, women are separated from the men and sit sideways, perpendicular to the men so they are not facing them!

Two hundred fifty people showed up for the Grand Opening on Sunday, including the Territory Sector Chief and all chiefs of various domains – military, police, health, local post, etc; all from various tribes. There was a ribbon cutting ceremony and even popping the cork on a bottle of champagne. It was pretty amazing. I was very busy giving audience after audience for various groups every day and then training women on the computer in the late afternoon. The whole area was just in awe. I had 50 people in the main room the first couple of nights while I demonstrated Skype video, calling their loved ones around the world, letting them see children they hadn’t seen in 10+ years, and grandchildren they’d never seen. Old women were jumping up and trying to hug the computer to embrace their families! People stayed until midnight every night and started coming early every morning to use Skype and go online.

Emmy Award winning filmmaker Paul Freedman interviewed many women who told their stories of marginalization, slavery, and rape. On our last day a 16 year old young woman came and shared that she was on her way to the hospital; she had been married for three years – 1 year before getting her period – and hasn’t been able to have children and has constant pain in her womb. There were so many tragic stories, but we are presenced there now to change the history of women and men in the High Plains of South Kivu Province!

My dad was around a lot. We visited him at his hut and Paul Freedman interviewed him there about my childhood. We went to my primary school where I went until the 3rd grade – a seven kilometer hike by stick (before I had crutches and shoes). My dad told Paul that he had arranged for me to stay at the school because it was so far, but after some time had passed and I had watched the other kids going back and forth, one day when my mom and dad came home from the field, there I was; and there I was every evening after that. During the week Paul Freedman took a lot of video for his documentary about activism in Congo, to be released by January 1, 2015.

You can see more photos of the Grand Opening week on the Maman Shujaa Facebook page, but I have to tell you, there is nothing like being there and LIVING THE DREAM!

The Front Door with the Second Phase Under Construction
Gazebo with 5 swings in the making
Picture of Finished Swing Gazebo Around the Firepit
Hundreds come for the Grand Opening
At Opening Ceremony with Women Separated from Men
1st Computer Training at new Center
2nd Training
Women on Skype Video with Loved Ones Around the World
Talking on Skype Video
Talking to son in the U.S. from Itombwe!
#TimeToAct

Downloads

Comments

MASOSO ANTOINETTE's picture

congratulation Neema

i just say to congratulation you are Hero woman from Itombwe then i know that step you get it very fantastic and very big step you did excellent work

masoso

Neema's picture

Congratulations

Thank you Antoinette. Seems like every step we take is a big step because it is a 'first step'. The Maman Shujaa are charting new territory with every step and every action we take. We are together my Maman Shujaa sister!

Neema

Carrie Lee's picture

How Wonderful!!

Congratulations Neema! I am so happy to read about the opening of a 2nd center, and hear about your dreams coming true. You inspire. What an impact this makes on many lives!
Warmly,
Carrie

Neema's picture

How Wonderful

It is very wonderful Carrie Lee. We began in faith and now are faith has become reality. The women of Itombwe are very excited and so are we! Now we have our Center - now we are only beginning!

Thank you for your support my sister,

Neema

olutosin's picture

Welldone my sister!

I am just happy for women. Welldone, you are great, keep on soaring high.

Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale
Founder/Project Coordinator
Star of Hope Transformation Centre
512 Road
F Close
Festac Town
Lagos-Nigeria

https:

Neema's picture

Well done

Thank you for your continued support sister Olutosin. You encouragement keeps us aiming higher!

Neema

Aurore's picture

Félicitations Neema!!!!! Les

Félicitations Neema!!!!!

Les photos sont juste fantastiques. Bravo à vous et à toutes les femmes d'Itombwe.

Neema's picture

Merci

Ma chère les femmes d'Itombwe sont maintenant connecter au monde, et je suis entrain de faire par tout le moyen d'avoir quelqu'un ou quelqu'une pour nous aider a payer la connection pour ceux deuxième centre de Mama Shujaa d'Itombwe.
See you online.

Neema

Sherry Sherry's picture

congratulations

I take so much excitement in your achievement. Big thumbs up for u!

Warmly,

Sherry

bravo.

Neema's picture

Congratulations

Thank you Sherry Sherry. We are so happy to feel your solidarity as we make our way. It strengthens us.

With regard,

Neema

mrbeckbeck's picture

So incredible

Neema, congratulations sister! How inspiring to see your dreams come to life. You are making an incredible difference in the world, starting with your own home. I love the image of women wanting to hug the computer screen. I wish I could reach out and hug you my friend, you are the best!

Keep up the great work. I continue to cheer you on from afar.
My love to you and all the Mama Shujaa,

Scott Beck
World Pulse Online Community Volunteer

Neema's picture

So Incredible

How wonderful to hear from you Scott. You and the rest of the team at World Pulse has been the air for our wings. I want to get that hug one day my brother!

Thank you so much,

Neema

Susan K.A.'s picture

What great news!

That's so wonderful, my heart is brimming with excitement and happiness for you and all the families you serve through your amazing work. How encouraging and beautiful. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

With love for you all,
Susan

______________________________________________________________________________

"I wish I could show you when you are lonely or in darkness the astonishing light of your own being."
-Hafiz

Neema's picture

What great news!

Thank you Susan. We are so excited to be there to serve these precious sisters. And you can't imagine how excited they are! We will keep you updated!

With love for you,

Neema

ikirimat's picture

Congratulation Neema You are

Congratulation Neema
You are such an inspiration to others.
Thank you for such a wonderful project come true

God will bless you abundantly

Grace Ikirimat

"It takes the hammer of persistence to drive the nail of success."


Neema's picture

Congratulations Neema

It is so wonderful Grace how you are always there to support and encourage us. Thank you. We appreciate you!

Neema

ikirimat's picture

Congratulations Neema You are

Congratulations Neema
You are such an inspiration to others.
Thank you for such a wonderful project come true

God will bless you abundantly

Grace Ikirimat

"It takes the hammer of persistence to drive the nail of success."


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