From July 14 to 28, 2019, young Tunisians from the city of Kef welcomed young people from Germany, France and a Burkinabe student in Tunisia with sister Valérie Kaboré (from Algiers) and sister Cécile Dilé (from Marsa) . The goal of this vacation time was to allow all these students from different cultures and religions to serve others together. This project is a result of the presence of the White Sisters at Kef, for nearly 40 years.
The Kef project, a story of transmission! mother to daughter, White Sisters from generation to generation:
Salwa has been a member of the Kef Reading Club for over 15 years:
“You never meet people by chance. They are destined to cross our path for a reason.” And this chance, by the blessing of God, has put on our path, two guardian angels Josette and Françoise (French and Canadian White Sisters who have lived nearly 40 years at Le Kef). Yes, God loves us! Two angels of the school of life in all their simplicity, humanity, their great humility in listening, giving without counting and to love life with all its risks, not always with a happyoutcome, while hoping for the best. Someone’s country is their life, here and everywhere.
Salwa and the other women of the Reading Club wanted their daughters or nieces to experience this closeness to the White Sisters. So, sisters Valérie and Cécile went to Kef with five students, German, French and Burkinabe, to live this experience of interfaith and intercultural encounter at the school of the White Sisters.
Amira, Salwa’s daughter testifies:
This project for the benefit of children has allowed me to discover new human relationships, to understand and appreciate our exchanges and differences that are the result of self-giving and love in the service of others. My greatest satisfaction was to see the joy of the children during the activities (singing, dancing, sports; English and French classes in a playful way). My greatest wish would be for this project to be renewed in various schools and regions of the northwest. I thank the sisters of La Marsa very much for this initiative, the book club and in particular our dear sisters Josette and Françoise who are the founders of this rich chain of love “of living together”. Thank you for allowing Franziska, me to create links with my adorable and precious new friends Juliette, Laure, Laure, Flore, sisters Valérie and Cécile. Thanks to Mr. Atik, director of the station school, in the service of learning and children, as well as all his staff. Thank you for allowing me to be with you and to confirm that all our differences are a source of richness. Long live the friendship without borders!
Here is Laure’s testimony:
We went to Kef without really knowing what to expect and I will not regret for anything in the world to have embarked on this adventure.
I am happy with all we have achieved together for the children. I was very touched to see that we could interact with the children even if we did not speak Arabic, through smiles, gestures, games … We were a beautiful team of foreigners and Tunisians, each one using his or her gifts: as teacher, artist, athlete …
I was touched by the ‘all to all’ which gives so much joy to the sisters. Thanks to them we were able to share and live one another’s culture.
I will remember that we have a lot to learn from others.
Christian commitment in the Muslim world is a big challenge. To find oneself in a Muslim country where Christians are very few is very difficult but to meet the other religion is wonderful because it pushes us to question ourselves, to understand why and what we believe. I thought a lot about the place I give to God in my daily life. The exchanges that we have had on this subject with Tunisians and foreigners have helped me to grow.
I was very moved to see that we could pray with people of other religions.
This was a very strong experience as well as the warm welcome of Tunisian women. We met some very nice people; it was hard to leave them. But as Sister Valérie would say, “you have to leave in order to better meet again.”