Story - Alix Besa

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You need to give before you can get

My name is Alix Besa. I was born and raised in Lubumbashi and went to primary & secondary school and university here. After university I started working for a bank, but I changed jobs after three years and now I’m working here, at the reception of CMC. What I like about my job is the contact with the people. I’ve always been comfortable around people, and I try to deal with them personally, rather than professionally. When referring people to the doctor they need to see, if often find myself wanting to follow them to make sure they get to where they need to, to make sure everything is fine.

That’s one of the reasons why, whereas my colleagues leave for lunch, I like to stay behind during my lunch break. When you come to the hospital between noon and 2PM, you need to go to the Emergencies ward. But if you arrive at the reception, and there’s no one to tell you this, it’s confusing!

For me, it’s all about giving. People often expect to get things, but before you can get something, you first need to give. I think that if people – especially young people – start giving more, engage more, things will turn around. I’ve always had the hope that tomorrow, things will be better, because we can do better. And when it’s better than it is now, we can give even more of ourselves!

I’ve never been the kind of person to complain about how things are and about everything that’s been happening in the country. There’s no point in grumbling when you can do better and play a role. You need to have the courage to rise higher, rather than focus on others.


In November [2017] I’m getting married, which is taking up all my time these days. Whenever I get home from work, I check on what’s been done and what still needs to be done. I’ve also been watching televised marriages, such as “Quatre mariages pour une lune de miel” (a show where 4 couples compete to win a honeymoon) for inspiration, for dos and don’ts.

The actual wedding will start 2 days in advance, with me moving in with my godmother. I’ll need it to get some peace and quiet!

The morning of the wedding, we head to the city hall. There, everybody can come; sometimes even people you didn’t invite! Then again, many people will only join us in church, and will use the morning to get some final touches to their hair or outfit.

After the city hall, we’ll go to our godparents for some sweets with our nearest and dearest – we can’t expect them to take care of everyone!

In the afternoon we head to church for mass, which should take up to two hours. From the family, you need to invite everyone; you can’t risk forgetting someone. Apart from that, the amount of people attending the mass pretty much depends on how social you are. If you’re in a lot of organisations, if you’re a member of the choir, for example, you can expect all these people to come! I’m praying every day the church will be filled to the brim.

After church, there’s the party, the food, the cake. We decided to go for a buffet, because there are a lot of people here who like to know what goes on their plate; who did what. We prefer to see for ourselves, fill our own plates. People are there to eat, drink and be merry. Here in the DRC, you can’t have a wedding without dancing. And the dancing won’t stop until dawn.

Also, with regards to the food: although I didn’t live a life of riches in a well-off family, I know how to use a fork; but that doesn’t mean that everyone does. Some people, they are used to eating with their hands: at my wedding, they’re at home, so they can.

Although the wedding will only end at dawn – if not later – the groom and I can leave earlier, exhausted after our happy day.


I’m not sure what the future will bring. As long as I can keep on giving, I will. I don’t ask much of the lord, except maybe to support my husband in his work. And for children, in a few years: 2 boys and a girl, which I’d spoil rotten.

For me, I might start my own business in the future. I’m not yet sure what.

A few years ago, I had the idea of setting up a dating website. They exist in all countries, in all sizes and shapes, but hardly in our country. But when I asked around for a programmer to help me, everybody told me that it was a bad idea. So, I waited. But I’m positive that one day, I’ll have enough knowledge to find the right idea and to start.

I probably could have done so already, and many people have told me that – with my education – I could have. But I want to learn first. I don’t want to try to fly, only to plunge; I want to be sure I can fly before taking flight.

Alix Besa works for the Centre Médical de la Communauté, a hospital in Lubumbashi (DRC). BIO gave a $ 3.1 M loan to CMC, created in the 1990s by doctors who wanted to counter the difficulties of the health services in the region.

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