Reunited – COVID separates Hope Walks staff from family

COVID & Clubfoot – Stories from the front lines

Hope Walks partners with more than 130 clinics in 16 countries. International borders are something you learn to deal with. For Bernard, Hope Walks program manager for the Democratic Republic of Congo, these borders are part of his daily routine. COVID-19 has turned his normal daily routine on its head.

While Bernard works for Hope Walks in the office of HEAL Africa (our implementing partner) in Goma, DRC, he actually lives in neighboring Rwanda with this family and has to cross the border every day to get to work. The DRC and Rwanda closed their borders due to the pandemic except for essential travel. This left Bernard stuck in the DRC away from his family. Bernard continued his work but was obviously very concerned about his wife and children back in Rubavu City, Rwanda, 43 miles away.

One day when Bernard was getting groceries, he ran into a colleague who works at the Gisenyi Hospital, the location of one of Hope Walks partner clinics in Rwanda and Bernard’s hometown. He told Bernard about a hospital car traveling across the border to pick up oxygen tanks for the hospital’s ICU. If Bernard could hitch a ride, he would be able to cross the border and reunite with his family. And thanks to God’s timing, that’s exactly what happened.

Today, like many people, Bernard now works out of his home managing the DRC program across the border. 

“Working from home is the new reality, we all need to grab this opportunity and embrace it,” Bernard said, “and transform our workplaces now before we get left behind due to this pandemic.”

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