I find it truly inspiring to visit and see the work done by the Trauma Tapping teams we support in DR Congo. The other day I went to see the Trauma Tapping Centre in Bukavu. To get there you go from the centre of the city towards the port, then turn up one of the hills overlooking Lake Kivu, passing the Psychiatric Hospital Sosame and then you go down on a local unpaved road leading through the community called Kalele. All along the way people are moving, children on their way to school in their white and blue uniforms, others carrying loads on their heads, minibuses with the conductor hanging out the door to get more passengers, motorbikes...
The TTT centre is just in the centre of the community in a small whitewashed house. The doors are open to anybody and somebody from the team is present more or less every day except sunday. People come by having heard about the centre from somebody, having heard that here is a place where you can get help when you have heavy thoughts, can´t sleep, are feeling sad or have thought about suicide because of problems and events you have lived through. Nobody has offered that before. But the needs are there.
I am welcomed by the Trauma Tapping team: Germando, Sylvie, Duni and Batu. Before we sit down to talk they receive and treat some clients who have already come to see them: a young girl of 17 who has difficulties to concentrate in school because of thinking of her parents who have died. A woman who suffers from insomnia and headache after losing her husband. An old man on crutches having amputated his leg after an operation who says he feels useless and often gets angry for nothing. He has tried to hang himself twice.
"You know even a small problem for one person can destabilize a whole family and that family can destabilize the whole community", comments Germando after treating the old man. "That is what we see happening here. So many are living with traumas after years of conflict, difficult economy and frustration."
The others agree and confirms how needed this centre has shown to be. When approaching schools and churches talking about trauma, how it shows and that it can be treated, they always get the same comment:
"Oh yes, you are right trauma is a big problem for us."
"There should be centers like this everywhere to help people", says Batu. "Then people would understand of what trauma is and how it affects people and the society. And learn how to deal with it. The whole world should learn TTT, that is my opinion after experiencing this technique."
"Yes, it is such a great feeling to see a smile from somebody who was so sad and traumatized before getting treated", adds Germando. "Imaging if we could stop worrying about financing the center and focus on starting a new one in for example in Nindja where people have experiences so much violence from all the armed groups. I just hope people understand how much every dollar they donate means here. Even the smallest contribution is one more day of work made possible for us."