A Comboni Lay Missionary has just arrived in Mozambique. She has been called to work with the youth of the school run by the Combonis in Carapira, the Industrial Technical Institute. These are some of her first reflections.
130 young people study and live here. In working with these young people, we teach them professional techniques through courses; how to be part of a family; and how to build a better world. I have taken up a nursing role in the school, working in a room with beds for the sick children, as well as medicines and basic utensils for care. A big part of my time is spent in this room, the pharmacy, as I make my ministry here – my service; the daily renewal of my Yes to the mission. I also accompany students to the hospital when needed and help them with their medication, wound care, and various injuries.
As a child, during catechesis, I dreamed of being a doctor and going to Africa. In the end, I studied Psychology, not Medicine – but it was a great choice! Now I see this as my calling; nursing pains to make people better. There is a peace that invades the soul – a smile that shows when looking to find a cure, or even when making sure the children take their medication. And the soul rejoices when our pharmacy is not only the physical space to administer medication, but becomes the space to share experiences and discuss a variety of possible topics. We talk about family; about the difficult situation faced by Mozambique and Brazil in politics; about school; dreams; and love. We smile and play together, and we also have some time to reflect on ourselves and find the best path for each day.
I have two students working with me, Cacossane and Mendes. They help me in everything and always try to improve our communication, to better understand and optimise the service for all other students. I am always pleased to see small achievements, such as curtains, a pot for tea, cup holders, dogfish soup, etc. Small things that make all the difference!
At the moment, there are two of us: Beatriz, who is from Mexico, and I. She tries to teach and guide me on how things are here; to show me the realities and correct, if necessary, my quick way of speaking, which can cause misunderstandings.
The mission begins at home! Community life is an invitation to forgiving love, and forgiveness that loves, which is a constant learning process. In this way, we develop ourselves and prepare to welcome Kasia from Poland and Barbara from Italy, who will be with us soon. My heart is already looking forward to their arrival.
We are a large and rich missionary team, comprising priests, brothers, and laity! We come from different places, cultures, and traditions, and this is a great resource for the mission. My Brazilian roots coexist with others’ Italian, Mexican, Portuguese, and Mozambican roots. Memories of Brazil dwell in my heart, alongside my longing for people, places – and even more for food! My nostalgia also helps the mission because it reminds me that the mission, too, is a collective project. I came to Mozambique by myself, but there are many people in other places, who pray for me and the mission. Without prayer, support fades. Maybe that is why my heart is full of gratitude, because I have many people who support me from many corners of this great world. Therefore, every day I renew my Yes to the mission; my yes to God; my yes to this school in which I live and work; and my yes to each of these children – also on behalf of all these people who pray for me.
Here they say “Vacani, vacani”: little by little. And so it is! One step at a time, slowly but without wasting time, we improve, move forward, and evolve. One step at a time to improve communication, the things needed for a good missionary way, practical things needed for work – in everything we proceed step by step. Remembering to take care of myself is the first step to being there for the people I am called to serve. Therefore, my path proceeds step by step and I can sleep peacefully at night, my heart full of joy for being allowed to live in this holy land. I thank everyone who supports me with prayer and wish you all well. We are together!
By Priscilla Garcia