News December 2016

Habari ya Mikembo – Start of the 2016 school year

  • After a busy, eventful summer break, the new school year started smoothly in Mikembo!


  • All our sixth grade pupils passed their state exam and the top two were selected for secondary school . Lungwa Bernard is registered at Salama and Kazembe Mulimi Freddy, at La Cité des Jeunes. Unfortunately for Freddy, his father is ill and his family has decided to send him to Moba, a town by Lake Tanganika.


  • For Mikembo, as for everyone, a new school year rhymes with new expenses… This year, we have asked that all those who are interested help us collect school material by following this link: http:///www.choisiroffrir.com/26772. We are happy to say that we managed to collect: pencils, erasers, notebooks, white and colour chalks, blue and red pens, rulers, registers, pins and pattern paper. We thank Divesh Hassamal, Nanou De Winter, Pascal Delvaux and STM in Belgium. For those of you who would still like to help, please don’t hesitate to call us.


  • 27 out of the 29 pupils whose secondary school studies were sponsored passed; two girls failed in Tshondo. Our eight first diploma holders from La Cité des Jeunes were offered internships! We thank METALCO for taking in our two welders and a mechanic, ENTRADEC for giving a chance to our other two mechanics, and EGMF for taking in our woodcrafter.


  • There will be major changes this school year. As secondary school weighs very heavily in our budget, we have decided to stop paying for boarding school. The children will be hosted by their family. However, they will no longer have to pay the “parents contribution” (10 USD/month) and will receive 10 USD/month . This will cut our expenses by about 520 USD/child and will save us around 10400 USD per year.


  • We thank Appolinaire for helping us fix and update the computers in the Kinsangwe school. As from September, the computer lessons will once again take place in the best possible conditions.


  • Heartfelt thanks to Edith, who donated all her LEGOs to the school, to the delight of all our pupils, regardless of their age!


  • Finally, we thank all the sponsors who keep on helping out their protégés, and those who start sponsoring us. Your help is priceless!


  • After a 3-week in Benin, Bill, our soon-to-be mycology PhD who is now a professor at UNILU (Université de Lubumbashi) , donated his first wages to Mikembo, as per local customs (according to which a person gives away his very first salary to his mentor). A heartwarming moment. The funds were donated to the NPO. Thank you Bill!


  • There have been less patients at the clinic these past three months. According to the sisters in charge, this could be due to decreased epidemics in the dry season (very little malaria), better acces to food thanks to the latest harvest and better water quality.


  • Our clinic staff came up with an excellent plan to learn English: every evening, a South African-born villager gives free English lessons at the clinic! Wonderful way of opening up to the World!


  • Summer breaks are the perfect time to travel, which is what a bunch of Chinese, Belgian and Congolese students in various subjects decided to do. During their stay in Katanga, those students took time to visit the Kinsangwe school and the Sanctuary.


  • And that makes seven! A fifth baby giraffe was born in the Sanctuary at the beginning of August! Welcome Augustin(e). He/she is our special first “grandbaby” born in Katanga, as its father is also its grandfather and its mother is “Katanga”, our first baby born in 2011. From left to right: Mum Katanga, a photobombing warthog, Augustin(e), Dad (Papou) and Grandma (Mamou)!


  • We rescued a young pangolin and freed him in the Sanctuary. More info on pangolins in our “Star”.


  • Chili grinders project: “Let Mikembo spice up your life!” By purchasing one of these chili grinders, you’re helping our Association! 100% made in Mikembo, the chilies were cultivated with much care in the Kinsagwe school vegetable patch. The limited edition grinders contain a mix of three chilies (Indian, habanero and bird). They are available on order in Lubumbashi and from Utamu, at a cost of 10 USD.


  • We came up with the idea a year ago. The Association bought seeds of the different species locally and sowed them in the school veggie patch. After harvesting and sorting them out, we rented a vegetable drier by the Bureau Salésien des projets de Lubumbashi and dried them. In just a few days, the chilies were ready for conditionning in these superb reusable grinders!


  • Chief Mikembo took part in a Mukini meeting in Belgium, which was also an opportunity to reflect on the situation of our Mikembo Association. Very nice evening at Pascale and Didier’s.


  • On September 22nd, Monsieur Sylvestre, our headmaster, was involved in a serious bus accident on the Kinsangwe road while going to a 3-day course held in Kipushi by the Inspection de l’Enseignement. While we initially feared a fractured spinebone, he fortunately got away with bruised ribs. Monsieur Sylvestre was discharded from the hospital on September 27th. We wish him a good recovery!


  • Two female sable antelopes died! Not much luck with that species.


  1. Habari ya Mikembo – First trimester 2016
  • The Belgian Association Nature+ visited the Sanctuary. They are hoping to use the results of a scientific study on local linear species launched by a UNILU student.


  • This year, we harvested delicious Cape gooseberries in abundance and distributed to the schoolkids, at the clinic and to Bumi’s little orphans in Lubumbashi.


  • We are currently busy with the 2016 account reconciliation and will be done at the beginning of April.


  • The Mining and Business magazine offered us three pages in their March-April edition in the “initiative” column. Mining and Business is edited in DRC and is dedicated to business and the world of mining in DRC and in the Copperbelt. We thank them! We’re really hoping that this exposure will arouse curiosity. and bring us a few sponsors!


  • The pictures featured in the column were taken by Art Mustache Photography. Mustache, the photographer, is in vogue in Lubumbashi and spent a few hours in Mikembo to take the pictures free of charge. Thank you, Mustache!


  •  A group of UNILU student and their supervisor came to Mikembo in order to install biomass measuring devices in different places inside the Sanctuary.


  • We took part in the fleamarket organized by Congo Equipment for Womans Day. Our star products were definitely the table sets designed by Mag and made by our seamstress in Kinsangwe. Please remember that orders can be made at any time.


  • In order to help the Kinsagwe school pupils, Mukini organized, on March 19th, a classical music concert, “Si la musique m’était contée…: Felix Mendelssohn” at the Saint Anne Church in Auderghem, Brussels. Major succès and heartfelt thanks to Mukini and everyone who took part in the event!


  • Tatu, our little orphaned sitatunga, is growing peacefully and beautifully!


  • We created a Mikembo-Mukini Facebook page. This will help us submit our projects on a regular basis and keep in touch with our sponsors and friends, as well as give us increased exposure. We invite you all to like and share our page! Https://.facebook.com/Mikembo-Mukini-1725090624369100/


  • Finally, heartfelt THANKS to the Belgian Association “Vie d’Enfants”, the Berlaymont School in Waterloo, the Belgian Saint François d’Assises girl scouts (13th unity), the Whist players in Lubumbashi, and the highly motivated Mukini Team for their priceless support!


  • “Triste sort du “Mukula”, le précieux bois rouge, dans le Haut-Katanga” (“The tragic fate of “mukula”, the precious red wood, in High Katanga”), written by the Bishop of Kilwa-Kasenga.

Diocese of Kilwa-Kasenga.

Bishopric, PO Box 74 Kilwa (via Lubumbashi), DRC



“Mukula, the precious red wood, decimated in High Katanga

The facts were denounced over two years ago in the South Eastern part of DRC, where one speaks of miombo rather than the humid tropical forest closer to the equator. In a remarquable intervention, the provincial Government of Katanga had, at the time, managed to slow down this disastrous process, which results in hectares of forest being decimated every day.

While DRC promised COP 21 to actively participate in the fight against climate change,   red wood trees, also called “mukula”, are being cut down at an alarming rate in many places in the Kasenga and Pweto territories (High Katanga). Many of these trees are being felled in an anarchic way from Sapwe (150km from Lubumbashi), on the Minga-Kasomeno road, to Katendeji (378km from Lubumbashi), on the Kilwa-Dikulushi road, as well as in Bowa (180km from Lubumbashi), on the Kasomeno-Lupembe road and Chez Aaron (180km form Lubumbashi), on the Kasomeno-Kasenga road. Various sized logs are piling up in thousands. Similar scene of devastation close to Muntufita, a village in Kizabi (Pweto).

The Chinese, who are officially appointed to the building of roads and whose vile actions are being cautioned by those close to some high Congolese dignitaries, are responsible for this pillage. They act with impunity, only giving work to a few of the young unemployed villagers in order to try and dazzle the local people. They load their loot on trucks (at least five a day) and transport it by night. They then store it in a well known place in Lubumbashi, before selling it at gold price on the Chinese market. From there, the wood is shipped fraudulously to Tanzania via the Republic of Zambia.

It goes without saying that there is no legal license for the cutting down of the trees, nor is anyone working towards any kind of reafforestation. This feels like a jungle. The people in these territories can only watch helplessly as their precious forrest, needed to fight the progress of the Kalahari desert, disappears right before their eyes. They gain nothing from it. Neither does the Treasury.

In the prospect of Pope François’ encyclical Laudato si, I call on the authorities, on the people of the Kasenga and Pweto territories, and on the willingness of all, to take the necessary measures and put an end to the spoliation of our heritage, protect this precious tree and save our ecosystem for our future and the stability of our climate.

Done in Kinshasa, on March  4th,  2006

Mgr Fulgence MUTEBA

Bishop of Kilwa-Kasenga

President of the Provincial Commission for Justice and Peace


  1. Habari ya Mikembo – Second trimester 2016
  • Two hours a week for 12 weeks, Nohémie, a Belgian student who was completing her training as a French teacher, taught the pupils’ mothers how to read and write at the Kinsangwe school. Monsieur Sylvestre, our headmaster, usually teaches that class to approximately 20 mothers once a week. Nohémie’s lessons were met with great enthousiasm and showed impressive results. They ended in the beginning of May with a beautiful Celebration to honor all the brave mothers who want to learn how to read and write.


  • Congratulations Mag for closing two important deals for the sewing school: costumes for the Belgian nursing school show, and sewing all the badges on the workwear of an important mining company. Well done Mag!


  • Tatu, the young orphaned sitatunga we rescued at the end of last year, was released in the Sanctuary. So many emotions as he discovered the bush and became independant before the loving eyes of those who took care of him for months.


  • We held our Board of Directors meeting then, a month later, our General Meeting, in the ecology room. Fifteen of the effective members were present or represented and Mister Kongolo was named Vice-President of the Association. Congratulations!


  • Heartfelt thanks to the EPBL (Belgian School) Parents’ Association for their support!


  • Pacifique, one of our “ protégé” who got his Masters degree at UNILU in 2012, taught Ecology at the Kinsagwe school and was hired by GIZ (German Cooperation) in Lubumbashi, found a job (still with GIZ) in Ivory Coast. This is the start of new adventures for him and we wish him good luck!


  • No major news at the clinic. Slight decrease in malaria patients, due to the early start of the dry season.


  • We celebrated the end of the school year on Wednesday, June 22nd. It was beautiful as always, and our many guests made it even more special. We thank the sponsors who managed to be there and spent time with their protégés. At the end of the ceremony, all the kids were treated to a surprise ice cream cone from UTAMU. Most of them had never tasted ice cream before and, judging by their happy faces, they liked it a lot!


  • At the end of August, GIZ are closing down their Lubumbashi antenna and ceasing all activities in the area. What a shame for the environment in Katanga.


  • Caro and Patrick are leaving in July. What a blow for the Association. Thank you Caro for helping us promote the sewing school and devoting so much of your time to our little pupils. Thank you Patrick for all the good advice and sponsoring. During the ceremony, the Kinsangwe children thanked them for their involvement in the school. We wish them all the best and will miss them sorely.