The first visit customarily is always to the sector leader, who would be like a mayor of a city. We met in his office, which had no electricity. He had a laptop computer that was run on a solar panel positioned on the roof. You can imagine how difficult communication and infrastructure can be for a government without electricity. He shared with us the state of affairs in the sector that the community of Gisanga is found. I think the most startling statistics were that of the 30,000 people that he governs, approximately 20% are at dangerous levels of poverty. This means that they are maybe getting one meal a day, and they are barely surviving. The other statistic he shared was that only 20 families in his sector used paper money. In other words, every one else was on a bartering system, which is not bad in itself, but indicates the poverty level of the area.
His main goal for the sector was to get electricity to the area. This has not been a central goal for FH at this time, but the leadership at FH are always trying to take into consideration the needs of the community, and that came through on many occasions. They want to be a local organization, not just an international aid organization. Their care and concern in that way meant a lot to Troy and I, and we were really educated about the difference between partnership and dependency, on both sides of that relationship.