Last year we introduced you to Pastor Marrion P'Udongo: preacher, humanitarian, and interpreter for the world's leading journalists, who lived and worked in one of the deadliest corners of the earth. The war in Congo killed millions, and through it all, the pastor dedicated himself to saving and nurturing the lives of others. When renal failure nearly took his own life, several colleagues came together to raise over $60,000 to get the pastor a kidney transplant. We made our pitch to the world via Indiegogo, CNN, TIME, Huffington Post, among other places. Over five hundred people answered the call. The pastor received a new kidney in May 2011 and is now recovering at home in Bunia, Congo.
But our commitment is not over. The pastor requires daily regimens of anti-rejection drugs that cost thousands. We need to raise $10,000 to purchase enough medication to get him on his feet and working again, plus cover his regular doctor visits in nearby Kampala, Uganda, and any emergencies that may arise (infections are common and often require hospitalization).
This effort is being spearheaded by journalists Bryan Mealer and Dino Mahtani, photographers Marcus Bleasdale, Riccardo Gangale, and filmmaker Taylor Krauss, who have all worked with pastor in Congo and not only value him as a trusted colleague, but as a dear and close friend.
election-related violence stirs Congo into turmoil once again, the pastor's
presence is more vital than ever. Pastor Marrion has been called
the "Oskar Schindler" of Congo. In 2003, as militia sacked Bunia and executed hundreds of their ethnic rivals in
the streets, the pastor sheltered scores of people in his home and miraculously
guided them to safety. In the years since, his one-man ministry reached
deep into the forest to help rehabilitate child soldiers. He also helped operate the St. Kizito
orphanage in Bunia for children whose parents were killed in the
conflict, in addition to running a secondary school in a nearby displaced camp
for several thousand students. In order to finance this mission and support his
family, Pastor Marrion established himself as the ace fixer and interpreter for
the world's leading news agencies who cover the conflict, including the New
York Times, Associated Press, Reuters, Agence France-Presse, BBC, PBS, NPR, and
ABC's Nightline. If you've read a story about Congo in recent years, or seen
one on television, the pastor probably helped produce it.
What We Need
The pastor's medication and doctor visits are essential to keeping him alive, and unfortunately, they're something he will need forever. Luckily, we found a wholesale drug supplier to provide the medication at a discount, but the burden remains huge. In the short term, we'd like to cover the pastor's medical costs for at least a year.
Other Ways You Can Help
In the long term, we'd like to establish a fairly hassle-free system for Pastor Marrion to get his medication for cheap or at no cost. If you work in the medical/pharmaceutical industry and can help, we'd love to hear from you. The pastor requires the following medication daily: prednisolone, cyclosporine, mycophenolate, and amlodopine.
Team on This Campaign: