The courageous lady Maombi Justine is the mother of seven children. Once she completed the secondary school level at the agroforestry school of Anga-POPOF, she was very blessed to have a sponsor for her study at the college. Her sponsor is another lady from Japan called Emi Toda. Maombi is studying Environment Management at the ISTD Mulungu College(the Development Techniques College of Mulungu , Institut Supérieur des Techniques de Développement de Mulungu). Emi is paying for her studies for three or four years.
She wakes up early morning, prepares morning tea for her family and does other house works before she takes her hand bag, leaves the family and descends the slope down to the college for studying.
In the first year grade, Maombi has 36 colleagues with whom she studies. Teachers sometimes give them homework to each student. Among the homework, she has been asked to go to the field and get to know few names of birds identified in the KBNP and surroundings.Maombi took the birds book and went down for collection of some birds. Among those she was able to discover were flycatchers and sunbirds. She fulfilled the paper given by the teacher. She obtained some max points for this homework. Now she is going to know and make a list of rivers flowing from the KBNP to the Lake Kivu next week.
She comes back home everyday after walking ten kilometers from the college. She doesn’t give up. She keeps on with her routines: she fills water tanks, cleans the house and prepares food for the evening.
She goes every Sunday to church and sing in gospel choir with other lady in the Pentecostal church. In the night she review her note while cooking around a kerosene lamp light.
A phrase “Women for Women” came up in my mind. That may be an appropriate phrase to describe this model. The effort and connection between Maombi in DRC and Emi in Japan is very suggestive and inspiring. In fact Emi, who is also a wife and a mother, is also studying in Japan. But she is still sponsoring the studies of her ‘co-sister’ in DRC.
We believe that women in the communities around the eastern lowland gorillas habitat, including wives of park rangers like Maombi, need more education for their capacity building in order to secure the future of this threatened subspecies of gorillas. We need to do it before it is too late.