On July 14, Peter, Albert, and I caught a plane at Kinshasa’s Ndjili Airport for Lodja, the largest city in the Diocese of Tshumbe, about 560 miles away.  The plane touched down in Kananga and then flew on, landing in Lodja about 2:00 PM.  Father Jules Lusumbu met us and drove us to the Passionist Retreat Center.

At the home of Albert Shuyaka's brother, the neighborhood children crowded around.

After a hearty lunch of rice, cassava, and goat, Father Jules took us into the center of Lodja, and we stopped at the house of Albert’s brother.  It was a noisy family reunion — Albert had not been home in five years — and all the children in the village crowded around to see him.

We also visited the St. Francis of Assisi Hospital, a center for youth that was under construction, and the Grand Seminaire Jean Paul II, where Albert had studied philosophy prior to his arrival in California.

Bicycles outnumber automobiles on Lodja streets.

Everywhere we went, bicycles were the principal means of transportation.  Not only did we see whole families on bicycles — father, mother, and two children — but bicycles also serve as carts for transporting everything from fuel oil to lumber.  We would see many more bicycles the next day, as we drove toward the River Lokenyi.

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