News from the African Region
Justice and Peace in Africa
Throughout the Mission Territory in Tanzania and in Congo Brazzaville, we were impressed with the emphasis the Sisters placed on Justice and Peace International Congressional Issues.
Firstly in Yaka Yaka we were enthused by the candid sharing between the Sisters and the Chef de Village, "Monsieur Daniel" and Mr. Briccabracca with regard to the best way forward to initiate amenities for the people roundabout. Setting up a school and Clinic are targets for the future. Continuing the Tailoring Classes, organised by Sr. Agnes is much appreciated by the women of the locality. The people look out for and help each other, sharing the little they have, especially fruit and vegetables.
In Ejinja , Kenya, we were amazed by the vitality of the girls in the school, their willingness to learn, to develop their talents and realise their dreams. I read statements about “respect for everyone”, about “how we recognise justice in everyday situations”, which were written up on the blackboard. I did not have my camera at that moment, a pity!
In the Clinic in Ejinja,Sisters Agnes and Mary attend lovingly to all who seek help, caring for “the dear neighbour without distinction”.
In Tabora we were treated to a polished exhibition of song and dance by the different schools, both Nursery and Primary. The following poem sung and acted by the Primary School children, touched us deeply: Child Abuse
Child abuse! Child abuse! Child abuse!
A form of torture for children’s rights
A beast to children’s future.
Beatings, heavy work, denying us food,
Forced marriages, rape and corporal punishments
All are your forms.
Oh no! Why us? The youth ?
Painfully, you pass through our people
Parents, teachers, caregivers, strangers and even neighbors all turn against us.
What a nightmare you are! To the youth
Please! Please! Please!
Parents, teachers, caregivers, and other concerned people,
We request and say enough is enough.
Join us and say “No! to child abuse”
Help us to grow, Help us to live, Help us to enjoy our rights as children
Because we are the adults of tomorrow.
And if we say "No" to child abuse we shall have a bright tomorrow.
Thank you our dear parents
Thank you our teachers
Thank you our school manager
And above all thank you Almighty God.
In Dumila, we witnessed the awesome work of the Sisters in the Hospital, no one is refused care. The ethos we breathed there was one of peace, co-operation and joy in service.
Sr. Josephine is alert to the 17 SDG’s and to the fact that the International JPIC Group has elected to concentrate on No 5
“The empowerment of women and girls”
"We spoke about this to the students
in the schools and in the Communities."
Sr. Josephine goes out to a nearby village once a month with one of the Hospital Nurses and has introduced an awareness-raising health and wellness programme. Some 70+ women attend these sessions. All learning is through role play
Because of the recent cholera outbreak during which many died, the emphasis in these groups is on basic hygiene. The ever-present Malaria, UTI, Anaemia and worm infestation challenge the women and especially the young mothers. Also the maternity unit in the Hospital gives Sr. Josephine the opportunity to introduce and follow up on the importance of personal hygiene. Sister also liaises with other Women Religious in the wider neighbourhood.
Sr. Josephine is concerned too about the many skirmishes between the nomadic Masai cow-herders and the crop cultivators. Many severely wounded crop growers are regularly brought to the Hospital, because the Masai are fearless fighters. This is an obvious justice issue and Sister is working on strategies to bring the two sides together to challenge the innate wisdom of both groups to find ways to co-exist in a more just and peaceful way.
It is inspiring to see so much sharing and interchange between the three Communities in East Africa, all living in such very differing circumstances yet united in service.
Sr. Henrietta 12th September 2016