We arrived in Tshumbe in late afternoon, just as people were gathering wood for their cooking fires.

Father Crispin Otshudiema, the Vicar General of the Diocese of Tshumbe, met us when we arrived at Bishop Djomo’s house about 4:00 PM on Friday, July 15.  The bishop was still in Kinshasa, and we were unsure about when he would be able to get to Tshumbe.  Peter Nugent, Albert Shuyaka and I were given rooms with private baths and beds with mosquito nets.  They seemed pretty luxurious after our long trip from Lodja, and we were grateful to shower and rest.

Sister Henriette Akashe walks by the diocesan center of Tshumbe, still under construction.

At about 7:00 PM Sister Henriette Akashe served a delicious dinner of soup, rice, and fish, topped off by fresh pineapple.  I was especially grateful for the bottled water — the day’s journey had given me a thirst, but I had run out of bottled water before noon.  That evening, Father Crispin took us to the old brick rectory, built by the Belgians before Congo’s independence in 1960.  It is a communications center with internet — not easy to find in the interior.

Seminarians and priests at the rectory, built by the Belgians and now undergoing restoration.

Albert Shuyaka and I were able to send emails and communicate via Facebook.  Returning to the bishop’s house, we found the door locked.  Albert went to look for the  watchman, who let us in.  The next day, Bishop Djomo returned.  He had been able to get a flight out of Kinshasa, and that meant that he could ordain Albert Shuyaka on Sunday, July 17.  We had been worried that the ordination might have to be postponed.  Instead we had another taste of African Christianity at Albert’s ordination in Wembo-Nyama.

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