Exactly a year ago I was still in Poland, now I am in St. Jude Children’s Home but not only.
Since my return to Gulu has not passed another year yet but everything looks different than it was before. Just like everyone thinks the return is easier- familiar place, people, culture. Despite this, I am still learning something new. This is also a result of changes in my mission- I’m not only in the orphanage but also in the school running by St. Monica community, in the prison and also in the house for our older boys.
The area of our missionary service has expanded considerably, not only mine but also Asia’s and Carmen’s – each of us has found new places of commitment which enriches our community in sharing and experiencing mission.
As I mentioned above, besides my daily activities with children in St. Jude (the redeemining the level of education, motivational support and self-esteem of children, feeding and caring for children with disabilities, having fun and praying together with young girls) I have engaged in other projects as well.
St. Monica is a place running by one Community of Sisters. They have many different projects-activities like School of Basic Literacy for Adult Women, Tailoring school, Clinic and Kindergarten. At this Kindergarten, twice a week, I have classes with children who have learning difficulties. Our classes take place in the classroom where I try to show the child, within a half hour (classes are held individually) that he is able to write, count or answer questions. However, the most important is to make the child feel accepted and that someone believes in him. Unfortunately, the biggest problem among these children is very low self-esteem, they are timid and they do not feel like special. They come from many families where everyone is the same and if you are slower in learning or writing, it means you are worse, stupid.
The another place is a prison where I’ve already spent two weeks together with a prayer group celebrating Mass or sharing the Gospel with the prisoners – so far this is the beginning, so I am still new in this but I am so glad I can be there. I also hope to go to the prisoners-women but it will start after Easter.
The boys’ home is the part of St. Jude but this is separated house situated about 2 km from the Orphanage. On Saturday afternoons, I go there to read with them the Gospel of coming Sunday, to talk about their problems, help with study. For example, one boy is in P.3 class (Primary School) but still has problem with writing his name, concentration or memorization – but this is not due to his laziness. His difficulty of acquiring the knowledge is caused by the boy’s mother who was drinking alcohol during pregnancy. Unfortunately, alcoholic fetal syndrome (FAS) and AIDS (drugs are very strong and have side effects) have a great impact on their ability and functioning in the life and also in school.
Time goes by very fast, each day is similar but events, faces, other situations are different. Everything teaches something – mainly about myself. I am grateful to God for the gift of this vocation, sometimes difficult but surely full of His love and power. Because no one of us would do anything if it were not His will.
For this extraordinary time of Holy Week I wish all of us moments of silence and desert – that in our organized daily life we find time for Him and on the Day of Resurrection let our souls be filled with Faith, Hope, and Love.
Ewa Maziarz, Polish CLM in Uganda