|Like in the three years before, for Christmas we had a Salvation Play in which our young sisters were happy
to be part. They decided about their costumes and tried to understand what Christmas was for the simple people of the time of Jesus, and what it might mean for us today.
|On December 3, 2010, the clinic in Mgbele/Imo State was officially opened and blessed by the Archbishop of Owerri, Anthony J.V.Obinna, in the presence of many of the sisters and many people from the area. The clinic will serve as a basis for the mobile clinics in the area. It has a small laboratory, a pharmacy, consulting rooms, a labour room, two private rooms and a ward with three beds. The first baby was born there on December 16th, a healthy boy. A first child before that had been born in the convent building before the clinic was finished, also a boy.|
|And finally, in Area 4, Osun State, our Ifetedo sisters opened a school. There, we have no land yet as there are problems within the village as to which land should be used. We are teaching about 80 children presently in the village hall and in two rooms in a private house. Four teachers are employed there, as the sisters cannot go every day due to the miserable and dangerous roads.|
|On the 21st of August, we had the first day of a new program, which we call Power Girls. We invited girls of the agegroup between 12 and 16 years to come and spend a day with us, to learn about their own dignity and value in life and how to grow and develop into happy and mature women. We plan that the same group of about 30 girls can come 4 times, within the span of a year, and then another group can be invited after that.|
The sisters invited girls they knew from catechism or school or clinic, not only Catholic girls. For this first day, some more girls came along, so we had 38 in the end. Not all of them go to
school and so know English, Josie translated into Bwagi; Josie is a girl who has finished Secondary School and helps us a translator in the clinics.
The day started with welcome and some snacks, and then one of the postulants, gave them a short talk on personal hygiene. There were a number of questions. A break followed, and then we gave out some items of clothing, towels, soap and belts to the girls in groups of 5 so that they could try the things in peace and quiet. There were games, then a short prayer, then lunch and another time of games and fun. A second health talk followed, this time on menstruation and how to care for oneself. We closed with a short feedback and prayersongs and then the girls went home happily. The time in all was from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Both the girls and the sisters were happy with the results and think that we achieved our goals for this day. As the name says, we want to empower the girls to grow up and mature. In the Nigerian Society, girls are lowest in the rating, they get food last, are sent to school last, and have to work hardest both in the fields and in caring for their siblings. On November 20th, the second day will follow.
|On August 7, 2010, the second graduation took place in Azhin Khasa school. A representative of the Ministry of Education was there, giving the approval to the Nursery section and also demanding that we open a primary school immediately for the next academic term. The results of the students were so good that the Ministry feels we need to keep on teaching these children, not sending them on to other primary schools. So we now have a nursery and a primary section.|
| In July 2010, we had to buy a bus for our children in Mgbele. As not all of them can walk very well,
we need the means of transport. It seats all 10 children plus some of the Sisters, and the Sisters can drive it easily. It also manages the bad roads well as the wheels are quite high.
All are happy especially as the children have been promised to come to Garam for a week in August when there are school holidays. They will come with their own bus ...
Olue learnt to laugh again. Here she plays in a tent with Chikamma, the youngest in the house - Olue is 3, Chikamma 2 years of age. This is the child that was found almost starved only just before Christmas.
So quickly life can change.
|February 14th, 2010
Olue, the child which we found just before Christmas more than half starved (see News 2009), is recuperating.
Here she shows off her new Sunday best - Nigerian style. All other girls had pink dresses, so she had one too.
What is more important: she gains weight, learns to play and to laugh, and is happy.
February 2nd, 2010
Today we heard that the Sister in Auchi has been freed. It was Sr. Rosita of the SND congregation, a social worker. The Union of Catholic Mothers started a demonstration in Auchi, and then the Sister was released. In the information , we were asked to go on praying for her healing, so we do not know whether she was hurt, but certainly there is trauma after such an experience. Thank God it was not for long.
January 29th, 2010
Thank God things have quietened down a bit. People can again travel to and from Jos and Sokoto. There is still some military, but the revolts have not spread, and in general it is quiet. Many corpses have been found, and there is always the danger of revenge. And for the lost properties there is no recompense.
Kidnapping also goes on, the latest in Benin (the Anglican Archbishop) and in Auchi (a religious), but that is almost normal for here. In the beginning, it was mainly Americans or Europeans who were kidnapped, but now it is Nigerians, people from whom it is thought that ransom could be paid.
Thank you for your support in prayer.
January 24th, 2010
Right now we have some problems here in Nigeria, and nobody really knows why. About a week ago trouble started in Jos. Jos is a beautiful city north of Abuja, and years ago, especially all the Europeans and many international congregations went there. It is a bit like Bangalore in India, higher up in the hills, healthy air, not so hot, vegetables grow, potatoes and tomatoes and good things that cannot grow anywhere else. About two years ago, there was the first unrest in Jos. Really it was all a political thing, and that Muslims tried to kill Christians had nothing to do with the event, local elections in which some corruption had happened. But many Muslims are poor, and there is always some tension. Anyway, many people were killed, houses burnt. And the same thing happened last week and is still going on. So far, we do not know what triggered it. The worst about it is that there are now fake policemen who are robbers in police uniforms. So people cannot trust anyone.
Right now there is curfew so that anyone leaving the house, will be shot by military. That at least curbs the violence. But nobody is safe, and the unrest is spreading. Last night around 3 a.m. killing and burning started in Sokoto, far in the North. And last night also trouble started in Gwagwalada, not far at all from Abuja. The people assembled in the mosque for Friday prayer, must have made some plans to kill and loot. Someone told the police about it, so the plans did not work out, security is tight now around that area.
We all hope it will quieten down soon, and we pray for all those who have been hurt and have lost all their homes and possessions. And we hope it will not spread. So please pray with us.
January 6, 2010 four of our sisters renewed vows in Garam; here with one of the young professed and with one of the Junior Sisters who will renew her vows later in January together with one other Sister who is in Ibadan for further studies now.