'Schindler of Congo' Now Needs Others' Help

Marrion P'Udongo helps orphans, kid soldiers, rape victims—and has bad kidney
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 24, 2015 8:23 AM CST

Marrion P'Udongo is recognized simply as "pastor" by many and has pulled off a laundry list of heroic acts in the war-torn Republic of the Congo, including assisting child soldiers and rape victims and helping manage an orphanage, per NBC News. His other nickname, the "Schindler of Congo," came about after a 2003 massacre of ethnic Hema residents in Bunia by ethnic Lendu militiamen: P'Udongo housed 70 or so frightened Hema for about a week, but militiamen forced their way in and threatened to kill everyone—until P'Udongo successfully pleaded for their lives and they were all brought to safety. But now the people's savior is the one who needs help as he languishes in Uganda hooked up to a dialysis machine, the result of a failing kidney he received in a 2011 transplant.

But while a new donor has been secured and a hospital in India with a high success rate for his type of procedure is ready to perform it, the $35,000 price tag is overwhelming for P'Udongo, who makes $200 a month, NBC notes. The people he's touched are doing whatever they can to help him: The same reporter who helped fundraise for the pastor in 2011 is doing it again. "Look at the world right now … you don't see a lot of really good people left," Bryan Mealer says on Generosity.com. "This is one of them." P'Udongo even has a friend in Hollywood: Ben Affleck, who founded advocacy group Eastern Congo Initiative and met P'Udongo in 2008, when the actor visited northeastern Congo. Meanwhile, P'Udongo continues to fight, mostly for his wife, four kids, an orphan he's taken in, and all the others he advocates for. "If I am not there … who will fill that gap?" he says to NBC. "No, I should not die now … There's still a lot to do." (Read what Bryan Mealer wrote about the pastor in 2011 for the Huffington Post.)

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