The Havre du Bon Pasteur center is a center that welcomes girls and women living in distress. Among them, we have those who have escaped from forced marriages and those who are victims of unwanted pregnancy and excluded from their families. There are also all the girls or women victims of abuse or sexual violence who need support and security.
This center was created in 2021 by the sisters of Notre Dame de Charité du Bon Pasteur. It is located in Bobo Dioulasso in Sector 22. Two of us go every Saturday for the apostolate from 3 to 5 p.m. Our joy is to see how much these girls consider us as their own sisters and the trust they have in us. We also see them as our own sisters who need our help; we learn a lot from them even though they are not from the same family, they consider themselves sisters. The friendship and fraternity we have built with them also give us faith and confirm that indeed we have the same divine identity as children of the same father.
In the difficult situations, these girls are going through, we try to be close to them so that they do not feel alone. For example, one of them failed her baccalaureate for the fourth time. She was very disappointed, sad, depressed, and discouraged and we tried to approach her and encourage her even if it was difficult to overcome. We listened to her, encouraged her, and accompanied her in what she was going through.
Our joy was also to see the work of the Spirit because, by our simple presence and listening, we see a change in some faces that become more and more relaxed after listening to them. We are aware that this is not of our own strength but of God’s grace. We make cards with them and play the game of six, and this gives them joy. We also try to pay attention to each one without exception.
The one who seems sad, we approach her to find out what is wrong and we give our point of view or a proposal. There was a girl whose feet were starting to swell and were giving her trouble, we suggested that if she could do some exercises, she could walk barefoot because we found that most of the time she was sitting or lying down.
The love that reigns between us despite our differences confirms the presence of God who is at work through our actions and words. This leads us to welcome each other as daughters of God. We live “the All to All” like Christ according to the Spirit that Cardinal Lavigerie as our founder, recommended. We have seen how much our presence is appreciated because when we arrive, they welcome us warmly and when we leave, they sometimes say “we miss you already”. They are our sisters and together we share joy and life but also pain in solidarity like children of the same family.
It is through this sharing of life that we proclaim Christ. We hope that through our simple gesture of love, they recognize that God loves them and that they have value before God. We ask you to continue to carry them in your prayers so that each of them may find life, dignity, and joy as beloved daughters of God!
Sr. Neema Kavugho Kyuma, Bobo-Dioulasso, BURKINA FASO
( Now a professed sister)