Hope For Kabingo, Inc. is an organization which has evolved through the collaborative efforts of Comboni Missionary priests and lay volunteers. Above all we seek to provide a “hand up” rather than a “hand out” such that all we do in partnership with some 2,500 individuals in Kabingo is sustainable and self-directing. Father Richard Kyankaaga, a Comboni priest who is from Kabingo, provides the vision and implementation of projects in the village. Many who have gone to Kabingo and many who haven’t had the opportunity are helping in ways both big and small. Melissa and Buzz Auvil from Cincinnati, Ohio head up Hope for Kabingo and operate closely with the Comboni Mission House locally. Buzz is a physician and Melissa a social worker. Lisa and Matt Greene live in Hudson, OH where they work as a nurse and communications vice president, and Barbara White, also a nurse, from Richmond, VA lead work to expand Hope for Kabingo’s projects, especially, in their home towns.
The organization of lay volunteers to form Hope for Kabingo has progressed over the last several years. During the first youth group mission trip to Kabingo in 2007, the question arose, “What can we do to provide enduring help to these gracious villagers?” Though we didn’t realize it at the time we had caught what Bishop Alden Hathaway calls the African Disease, “When you come to Africa, you catch the African disease. It’s not malaria; it’s not AIDS; it’s a disease of the heart, and you will never get rid of it. And what it means is that you have a heart for Africa, and whether you ever come back, you will yearn for Africa, you will cry for Africa, you will pray for Africa.”
For us, this African disease was not so much about Africa as a continent, but about Africans, the people of Africa and more specifically for us the villagers of Kabingo. After a second youth group trip to Kabingo in 2009 and a medical mission trip in 2010, our thoughts about wanting to help turned from a nagging question to an urgent imperative, “You must provide enduring help to these gracious villagers.” Hope for Kabingo began in response to this call to action.