By Sr. Agathe Mukamuligo, Lilongwe, Malawi
I have seen and I witnessed it. I was at the service of the Catholic Community of St. Ignatius of Loyola. It was an experience from January to May 2022.The general situation of the Church in the Refugee Camp: Why the Catholic Community of Loyola? There are three Catholic communities in the camp. We belong to the Catholic community of St. Ignatius of Loyola served by the Jesuit Fathers. At first, it was one community, but now there are three! I found myself in this reality of the Church where we try to practice our faith, thanks be to God. The situation of many of the young people: They were born and raised in the refugee camp. Most of them came from Tanzania and were transported to Malawi. These young people, members of the Catholic community of St. Ignatius of Loyola, are very committed. They are taking their part in building the Church. We have been journeying together during the Lenten season with one goal in mind: to bring out the quality that is in us in order to put it at the service of others. Another thing, to discover a weakness in ourselves, which prevents us from advancing and which destroys our group life. This led us to resolve to take action as our part in the preparation of the Easter celebration: to participate actively in our Sunday meeting, to prepare together for Palm Sunday and the International Catholic Youth Day, to live together with people of different categories: the Catholic Community Council Team, the delegation representing the small Christian communities, the Catholic Action movements (Catholic Mothers, Charismatic…)
I have seen and witnessed the creativity of these young people. The animation in public speaking, the talents put at the service of others, the search together to live reconciliation at every level, each one according to where they come from, their past, and their current situation in the case of refugees. In spite of the path that can become longer, I try to be at their side, to visit their parents, to listen, to encourage them and especially, to share their joys, but also their sorrows.
Future Perspective: To make sure that there is a large number of young people to participate in the meetings. We need to look at the issue of contribution to youth festivals and sensitization of young people from the grassroots, in the basic Christian communities.
Miss Jacqueline MALUMALU witnesses as President and animator of the youth group:
“Hello ladies and gentlemen, I would like to share my joy with you on the occasion of the World Youth Day that was celebrated in the refugee camp of Dzaleka with young people of Saint Ignatius on April 10, 2022. The celebration was great for all who attended, it was held at the Dzaleka Care Centre. The purpose of the feast was to celebrate Palm Sunday, which was International Youth Day. It went well although some of the youth did not attend due to financial difficulties (the contribution and the outfit for the feast).
First of all, what I liked and appreciated: usually when the youth go to feast days, the parents always complained because we started late and finished late. This time, we were sure to start on time and finish on time, so the youth committee will not have any complaints from the parents.
Secondly, there was good organization and a good understanding between us; there were no problems among the youth in different departments, nothing was lost, so everything went well. We took time to evaluate the day. We note that we achieved our objectives: organizing the feast and involving people at all levels, respecting the time, setting up the material. We are proud of it.”
Miss Jacqueline gave space to Sister Agathe Mukamuligo in this sharing to put the conclusion.
There is life at the camp in Dzaleka. There is creativity. There are different groups, so that we feel inclined to participate in all the celebrations or meetings despite the 45 to 50 km that separate us from Lilongwe where we live and Dzaleka where the refugee camp is located.
With an open mind and heart, let us listen to the voice of the Spirit in order to know where and how to serve Jesus Christ who calls us and sends us.
Sister Agathe MUKAMULIGO is serving in the Pastoral Care in collaboration with Father Dieudonné Mampasi, a Jesuit serving in JRS (Jesuit Refugee Service).