July 2022 trip to DRC?

Our July 2020 trip to DRC was cancelled because of COVID. We are monitoring the pandemic, planning to go as soon as the world opens up and it is safe to do so. July 2022? Maybe! Stay tuned. Here’s the plan as soon as we can go.

Why Eastern Congo?

We are leading our first ever trip to Eastern Congo this July! I’ve traveled three times to Bukavu, DRC, and now feel ready and excited to bring some of you with me.

Below are the tentative details. But first, I want to share the why.

I was talking to a friend from work — an adventurous and frequent traveler — about this trip as I thought she might want to join us. She asked for a few details then ever-so-politely asked this: “So why would I want to go?”

It was an excellent question (thank you Katy). Then another friend posted this below on Facebook (thank you Angela).

Screen Shot 2020-02-13 at 2.14.06 PMThe why might be different for different people, but this is the core of it.

The women of the Congo Restoration Sewing School will change you.

The girls of the Congo Restoration Girls School of Compassion will change you.

Spending time with our two college students, Eric and Marcelline, will change you.

Playing frisbee or serving beans to our orphans and watching them play and eat so joyously will change you. The same for the local children you will walk down the road with, the drivers you will spend time with on the worst roads in the world, the national park rangers and the gorillas you will spend hours with hiking through the rainforest.

Being with Congo Restoration Founder Gorethy Nabushosi in her home country is a glimpse into a world most of us do not have access to. It is logistically impossible to see DRC without an invitation. It is emotionally impossible not to fall in love with DRC when that invitation comes from Gorethy.

It will all change you. You will take the Congo back home with you. And, hopefully, you will leave the Congo a better place because of your time there.

Screen Shot 2020-01-10 at 12.52.43 PMAnd with that, here are the trip details

When: June 28-July 11.

Travel details: We will fly from DFW (or wherever you’re leaving from) to Kigali, Rwanda. We’ll spend one night in Rwanda on the way there. Flights have been hovering around $1600 for a while now. I have flown for as little as $1100 but am not seeing those deals right now. I’d budget for $1600 and be pleased if we find it cheaper.

Estimated total costs: $3800. We are still working out the details, but here is what I would budget for in addition to the flights:

  • Hotel in Rwanda: $50 for one night
  • Hotel in Congo: $50 per night/$400
  • Additional flight: Internal Rwanda flight ($230)
  • Food: I would plan on $30 a day/$300 (you’ll bring your own snacks because there is no lunch in Congo)
  • Excursions: Gorilla hike ($250 + tips). Kigali Genocide Memorial ($15)
  • Contribution to repair local family’s home: $200
  • Additional travel costs: DRC visa ($275), Rwanda visa ($60)
  • That leaves about a $400 cushion.

Screen Shot 2020-02-13 at 4.09.15 PMTentative schedule: First, you should know that we will be entering Congolese time, which can be relaxing if you give into it. That said, here’s tentative daily schedule:

  • Sunday, June 28: Depart US for Kigali, Rwanda.
  • Monday, June 29: Arrive in Kigali, spend night.
  • Wednesday, July 1: Early 40-minute flight to the border of Congo to meet our friends at Congo Restoration! That day, we will go to the fabric market to pick out something for our sewing school students to sew for us.
  • Thursday, July 2: Head to the village of Mudaka to visit the almost graduates of the Congo Restoration Sewing School and the girls at the primary school.
  • Friday, July 3: Back to Mudaka to spend day with girls at primary school and/or work day making repairs on home of one of the girls’ families.
  • Saturday, July 4: Sewing School graduation day in Mudaka!!
  • Sunday, July 5: Church and graduation party at our hotel for Congo Restoration’s oldest orphan, Mushaga, who is the first to graduate from high school!
  • Monday, July 6: Gorilla hike!
  • Tuesday, July 7: Day in Bukavu
  • Wednesday, July 8: Back to Mudaka to spend day with girls at primary school and/or work day making repairs on home of one of the girls’ families.
  • Thursday, July 9: Relatively low-key day and goodbye dinner with our friends in Congo.
  • Friday, July 10: Leave Congo for Rwanda, spend day (three hours at Genocide Memorial) before evening flight.
  • Saturday, July 11: Arrive Dallas about 5 pm

Screen Shot 2020-02-13 at 4.08.01 PMBut is it safe?

Yes. And if that changes, we’ll tell you. Gorethy would never invite us to come into an unsafe situation. That said, it is a developing country with a lot going on. If anything flares up — conflict, election unrest, Ebola — we pull the plug. That has happened to be me once due to election unrest (we are not going during an election season though). I would not travel here without Gorethy and the safety net around her. And I have never felt in danger at any time during my three trips there, nor in Rwanda. If it makes you feel better, I am likely bringing my college son along with me this time.

Here are some links you’ll want to look at:

Ready to go?

Email me: dmcmullan@sbcglobal.net