In memory of Natalie Anne Volpe (1991-2011)

To give credit to whom credit is due, Natalie is the one who first conceived this website, back in 2009. And it is thanks to that first website she created, that we met our very first donor, Patricia Nzolantima, which led to the financing by the BCDC of the building of the school in Kikimi.

Natalie took an active part in our mission in Congo from 2008 to 2010. It was during a relapse of the tick-bite fever she had contracted in Congo and which French specialists were unable to cure that she passed away in November 2011.

In her honor, we will post here some of the pictures taken of Natalie while she was in Congo, as well as of her art and also some quotes she wrote. She left her mark in this country, and also in the heart of the many people she touched with her love.

In 2015, a library was set up in her honor for the Kikimi children. Watch video here.

Kikimi—giving vitamins to orphaned children and teaching them Bible stories using flannelgraph.

Kikimi—giving vitamins to orphaned children and teaching them Bible stories using flannelgraph.

Kikimi orphans—watercolor and pastel

Kikimi orphans—watercolor and pastel

Toy distribution to orphaned children in Kikimi for Christmas 2008

Toy distribution to orphaned children in Kikimi for Christmas 2008

Little Kikimi Market—watercolor

Little Kikimi Market—watercolor

Arts and craft activities with hospitalized children at Ngaliema Medical Center

Arts and craft activities with hospitalized children at Ngaliema Medical Center

Sketches of the orphaned children—sanguine and mine de plomb

Sketches of the orphaned children—sanguine and mine de plomb

Food distribution in Kikimi

Food distribution in Kikimi

 

“I never intended to come to Congo. But once I made the decision that for better or for worse this was to be my home, it changed my life forever.  I love this place now, and I wouldn’t trade my experiences here for the world.” Natalie

 

“ It is realising that I am helping other people, that I am making a difference in somebody’s life that has made me to want to do what we do!”-Natalie

« Two sisters »--oil painting, orphaned girls from Kikimi

« Two sisters »--oil painting, orphaned girls from Kikimi

“This is an amazing country with so much potential. It’s not just “up in Africa” in some God forsaken place. This is the literal heart of Africa. And there is far too much to be done than we could ever hope to accomplish in any of our lifetimes. Everything makes a difference here. Everything counts.”--Natalie

Coloring with young orphaned boy in Kikimi

Coloring with young orphaned boy in Kikimi

Oil paintings—Fire, and Portuguese landscape

Oil paintings—Fire, and Portuguese landscape

Oil painting—« Zongo Falls»

Oil painting—« Zongo Falls»

« Even if no other reason, I believe in Heaven for my own good. Life is so much more beautiful when we know that, at the end of this life, we will move into a better world. »— Natalie 18/3/09

Natalie and her friend Floriane whom she met again in Paris

Natalie and her friend Floriane whom she met again in Paris

« No life is useless if, one way or another, it can bring happiness to those it has touched. » — Natalie

Watercolor—« Homme à la pirogue » on the Congo river

Watercolor—« Homme à la pirogue » on the Congo River

« I want to be able to say one day, ‘I’ve lived the life I wanted, I enjoyed every moment, what I did and what I gave, was done and given to, in some way, enrich the life of those around me.’ » — Natalie

Natalie teaching Bible course to students at UPN University.

Natalie teaching Bible course to students at UPN University.

Art exhibit of her paintings at "Halle de la Gombe" in Kinshasa.

Art exhibit of her paintings at "Halle de la Gombe" in Kinshasa.

Pastels—African plains: Wildebeests and Zebras

Pastels—African plains: Wildebeasts and Zebras

Drama activities at Kimbondo orphanage

Drama activities at Kimbondo orphanage

« Giving is the greatest pleasure in the world. » Natalie

Sculpture class at Beaux-Arts of Kinshasa

Sculpture class at Beaux-Arts of Kinshasa

Playing piano at the Sai Sai Club

Playing piano at the Sai Sai Club

“All life’s disappointments, broken dreams, dark and tragic experiences, will soon be forgotten and washed away as a bad dream, when Heaven will dawn in all its splendor!”

Our last Christmas with her in Kinshasa and New Year’s Eve with Lenka.

Our last Christmas with her in Kinshasa and New Year’s Eve with Lenka.

Now you’re in Heaven, safe at last.

Trials are past, pain is over,

That cocoon’s no more your home,

For you, our precious butterfly, has flown.

From the day of her birth Natalie brought us so much happiness, joy, laughter and warmed our hearts through the years with her innocence and love for life and living. She was gifted and talented in so many areas. Besides art she had a real gift for writing, putting her ideas, thoughts, emotions and dreams to words. She loved reading which gave her a wide perspective on life. She was determined, focused and worked hard at whatever she put her mind and heart to, art, writing or music. But her greatest gift was the gift of love for others, her concern and care, was always there to fill a need, be a listening ear or a helping hand. She touched so many lives. This is the most difficult moment of our life. The heartbreak and pain of losing her to this earthly life is hard and is more than we can bear. But we look to Jesus when He said, “I’m the resurrection and the life, he that lives and believes in Me in me shall never die.”  We find courage, strength and comfort from this fact that she is now safe in heaven and happy in Jesus’ arms.”

 

Gino and Clotilde

 

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