Travelling to meet and learn
Like every year, last summer some young people, who dedicate themselves in good works, went to Africa, in apostolic works run by our sisters,
in order to learn about other realities and possibilities as well as to help the less fortunate brothers from whom, in exchange,
they receive the gift of gratitude and the courage to commit themselves to verify their own lifestyle.
We report the echo of their missionary experience.
Travelling to meet and learn.
This was the title of the theme upon which we have reflected in one of the preparatory meetings for our missionary journey
with the sisters of Maria Bambina on Zambian soil, precisely in Chirundu,
a town in the south of the Country on the border with Zimbabwe.
We were hosted in one of the guest homes of the religious community, a few steps from the «Mtendere Mission Hospital»
and from the orphanage «Mudzi wa Moyo Children Home» in the «Village of life».
We spent days marked by frequent meetings and sharing occasions, surrounded by the landscape
and the colours of this unknown land and within a contest which at the beginning seemed alien to my life-experience,
but at the same time perfectly natural.
The absorbing energies of «Mudzi wa moyo» girls with their smiles and hugs, the moments of lunch with the sisters
and the dinners in the guest house enlivened by the company of the volunteers and the staff of the hospital,
the mothers with their children at the open-air outpatient service in the villages, the Masses and songs,
the survival struggle of a nascent life that did not manage to see the light on the following day…
all these experiences (to name just a few) for me have been characterized by a common denominator: the richness of encounter.
This richness strengthened in me the desire to learn and, in this reality I felt deeply strong the sense of the community
as a place of welcoming and sharing.
In the long phase of settling from my return which is still in action, I discover myself willing to let, little by little,
my sensitivity to be transformed by this journey that allowed me to feel ‘Africa sickness’, even though, to tell the truth,
I think it is more correct to call it ‘Africa welfare’. – Nensì
This experience was certainly exciting for me. It is a matter of emotions born from the encounter with extraordinary human situations.
I think about the very young mothers with their humble gaze in the villages and countryside in Zambia;
they present themselves respectable in their colourful chitenge, even if,maybe, it is the only garment they have.
I am thinking of Rosy, a seventy-yearold Italian woman who radically changed her life; she moved to Zambia to adopt Joseph,
a Zambian boy, orphan and disabled from birth. I remember how much shaken I was by the stories told by Sr. Erminia,
doctor of the Chirundu hospital, about the high possibility of dying from childbirth or from ordinary illnesses.
I remember the gazes and the smiles of the girls of the orphanage «Mudzi wa moyo». These are the images that remained impressed
in my mind and in my heart.
Now back to my normal life, I ask myself: now, what can I do for them? The things I can do are few, and according to me,
they are simply insufficient: besides, distance is a great gap, therefore, I feel rather powerless.
But I can surely offer a small testimony of this experience to my pupils of the middle school, in the hope of arousing in them
some positive emotions and the awareness that there are people who live in uncomfortable conditions.
Regarding my future, I would like to have another similar missionary experience, perhaps in another place in the South of the world.
Matteo I really think about those memories, those colours and those scents especially in these days
in which everything seems to be so hectic, difficult to find time to listen to one another,
days in which reading of the papers give you the impression that the world is turning backwards.
It is in these moments that those feelings of calmness, spontaneity and love come to surface.
In Africa, in Zambia and in Chirundu the natural thing is getting up with a smile, exchanging the good morning
while getting lost in those black eyes, hugging one another and live together and doing one’s best to help one another.
All this helps us to understand how much a little act can be precious, how much the human contact, at times shy,
at times overwhelming, is full of pure affection and respect, and how much enriching it is to face the challenge of
getting to know one another. It is not possible to return from there without feeling changed,
without feeling maybe even a bit angry and without feeling that wish to return again. – Greta