On Wednesday, July 20, Peter Nugent and I (accompanied by my former student, Father Rafael Okitafumba) made the three-hour trip to Lodja.

Father Rafael Okitafumba accompanied Peter Nugent and me back to Lodja.

It was fun to see the countryside again, to see the remarkable termite mounds, the chickens scurrying in front of the car as André Omombo sped through the towns, and to have lunch again at the Church of St. Joseph d’Okolo.  We arrived at the Lokenyi River, where we said goodbye to André.  We crossed again in the hollow log, and Father Jules Lusumbu picked us up on the other side and drove us to Lodja.  It was hot and humid and, to our surprise and delight, it rained.

Our plane from Lodja to Kinshasa was operated by the Compagnie Africaine d'Aviation.

We spent the night with Father Czeslaw Duda at the Passionist Retreat.  The Passionists had founded the Diocese of Tshumbe, and one of their number, Joseph Hagendorens, was the first bishop.  On Thursday, Father Jules received word about our flight and took us to the airport.  Jules and Rafael made sure, amid the chaos of the waiting room (including a chattering monkey in a crate), that we got onto our plane.  Father Floribert Omole met us in Kinshasa about 5:00 PM and took us to the Caritas Centre.

A Brussels Air flight took me from Kinshasa back to Europe.

Floribert spent Friday with us in Kinshasa, and in the evening, he took us back to Ndjili Airport to catch our flights.  Peter Nugent went on to Kenya, and I returned to Europe and then to the USA.  We left the Congo with unforgettable memories and an impression of the dynamism of the Diocese of Tshumbe.


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