Husband, Father, Student

Life at Shalom University in Democratic Republic of Congo

By Bess Brownlee

Paul is a student in the Theology department at Shalom University in Bunia, Democratic Republic of Congo, and he has approximately four more years of study ahead of him. He hopes to return to his home area of Kisangani after school.


There are souls that need to be helped in my country, in my village, in my city.

The motto for Shalom is ‘transforming the society through Christ.’ This is very important. We are training in such a way so that when we go back home we should be able to accomplish that.


Paul with his family outside of their home on the Shalom campus. Back row: Paul, Ngazi, and baby Pierrette. Front row: Grace, Francoise, Judith, and Anita.
Grace washes her feet outside before getting started on her chores. “At home sometimes when we are rushing for school we can tell the children, ‘this morning please clean the house,’” Paul explains.
Ngazi carries a jerrycan of water on her head and her third born, Anita, plays beside her. Water is precious and all of the families share communal water tanks in the student housing area. None of the houses have running water.
Ngazi hangs freshly washed clothes on the line to dry in the sun. Household chores are shared by all the family members.
Francoise (age 8) holds baby Pierrette (age 4 mo.) as Grace (age 10) smiles beside them.

The family is feeling that they are suffering, but we know that it is a call of God, and we must finish our studies so that we can go back and serve God.

Paul is also a father. He and his wife, Ngazi, have five young children, and they all live in a small two-bedroom flat on campus. Ngazi cares for the children and the house while Paul is in class from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. The children take care of each other and help their parents around the house. Paul and Ngazi can afford to send only their two oldest children to primary school, because Paul cannot work while he takes classes at Shalom.

We want Congolese to believe. We want them to be reached by the Gospel. I have chosen to be on the radio for preaching. I want a radio in my village, so that I can catch many people in my tribe at once so they can hear the Gospel. If I get that opportunity I will be very happy. It is a strong means of evangelism with my people. It will help my people come to Jesus Christ.

Paul’s mornings start at 5:30 am as he wakes and walks to the radio station where he preaches throughout the week. He speaks his messages in French, Lingala, Swahili, and English, in order to reach a wide variety of listeners.

Paul and Francoise stand in their small shamba (garden). Each family in student housing has a small garden plot near their house, where the students typically grow maize, sugar cane, avocado, eggplant, pumpkin, and leafy greens.


In Africa, community means to live together, to share life, and what is more important is to eat together. There is an African saying that says when fingers are gathered together in the same bowl, it reinforces love between people. When Africans eat together they feel bound, linked and they will be remembering one another for a long time.

Paul’s family welcomes him home after a long day of school. It is not easy to be both a student and a father, but with his loving and supportive family standing beside him, Paul feels confident he can acheive his dream of becoming a Congolese pastor.


Judith and Anita stand near their father after he returns home from class. “It is not easy,” Paul says. “It is difficult as a student, and as a father as well.”