Comboni Lay Missionaries

Project KWE ZO ZO (every person is a person)


Central African Republic

Comboni Family united for a common cause


This year, the Comboni family in Portugal will have as central theme of the year the slavery. Therefore, given the circumstances of the countries in which we work as Comboni family, we have joined in support of a project for the Pygmies of Mongoumba – RCA (where we have our CLM Elia Gomes responsible for the health issues).

The village of Mongoumba is located in the equatorial forest in Lobaye, Prefecture of the Central African Republic, and is bordered by the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Republic of Congo, in the equatorial forest.

The estimated population is 21,235 inhabitants, with over 50% of young people (under 20 years).

Here are around thirty villages located mainly on the banks of the Ubangi and Lobaye rivers. The population is ethnically diverse; the largest ethnic groups are the Mondzombo and Ngbaka, from the Bantu group. There is still a group of Pygmies Aka, according to the latest census carried out by CARITAS, in 2004, the number of people who belong to this ethnic group was 3089, being distributed in more than 80 camps disseminated in the forest.

Despite being pygmies the first inhabitants of this region, they suffer of discrimination from the rest of the population that uses them as cheap labor and excluded from social organizations.

The economic activities belong to the primary sector: coffee, bananas, cassava, hunting, fishing and gathering fruit. In this area existed logging and mining companies exploiting the natural resources causing the disruption of the balance of the ecosystem and destroying the natural habitat of the pygmies.


To support the Pygmy population at health level, the mission -and more specifically the community of Comboni Lay Missionaries (CLM) present there- intended to serve as a bridge between this population and the local public health center, as well as facilitate the access to Pygmies to medicines, nutrition programs, epilepsy, as well as vaccination campaigns and access to safe drinking water (through the construction of wells in the jungle).

The pygmy population fails to go beyond a collaboration of 2% of the total expenditure on health.


1. Donation of medicines needed for the Pygmies having a financial contribution from them.

2. Health education for individual and group during the consultations and in the pygmy camps in different topics like vaccination and the disease with greater incidence.

3. Accompaniment, medication and training in cases of epilepsy and malnutrition (very common in this region).

4. Creation of 2 wells in the jungle to meet the drinking water needs.

Budget (in Euros) for the development of the activities (for one year):


Finance needed

Drug expenses

3 700,00 €


550,00 €


630,00 €

Vaccination / sensitization campaigns

150,00 €

Construction of 2 wells

250,00 €


5 280,00 €

This project aims to ensure a minimum level of health for the Pygmies of this region (as these are the poorest of the poor).

Along with these activities, the Catholic Mission of Mongoumba does other activities in both education and in terms of Pastoral ministry. Therefore, this project is only a part of the comprehensive work done in the mission.

From now, the CLM community present in Mongoumba is grateful for the cooperation of everyone and especially the attention paid to the reality of the Pygmies. It is, in fact, in constant collaboration that we can continue the Mission and slowly, together, we believe that we can build a better world, “that many have life and have it abundantly” (Jn 10, 10).

Note: Currently, in this mission is present Elia Gomes, CLM nurse, who takes care of matters concerning to health issues.

The CLM from Portugal are available to provide any additional information, support, and answer for any questions that may arise:

You can download the project brochure KWE ZO ZO here.

You can follow the project in Facebook here.

Susana Vilas Boas: (00351) 960 145 875 (made ​​part of this community for 5 years).

Sandra Fagundes: (00351) 966 592 658 (treasurer of the CLM)

Donations can be deposited in the account:

IBAN: PT50 0036 0131 99100030116 60



Mission from the fragility

Comunidad de Boda

It’s the first time I get to the mission of Boda. We decided to celebrate the feast of Comboni with our brothers in Boda who have had a difficult time with the Seleka conflict, as they have repeatedly been ransacked the house and stolen almost everything. In Boda live these three Comboni brothers tested by the Mission: Adelino with 70 have very poor health, Berti with 74 remains an off road in the parish of Boganangone, and Claude, a centralafrican of 45 years.

Sister Margarithe, from La Martinique, tells me the suffering of her people. She works at the hospital in the city, but in August the doctor and the midwives fled because of the violence of the soldiers and now many women give birth in the jungle and not few mothers and children die. Each day in the hospital you have to face the inhuman conditions in which these people live.

It is in this context of insecurity and suffering that, to celebrate the feast of Comboni, Adelino invited us to meditate this morning on the “Mission from the fragility”. Based on the experience of the Church of Algiers proved twenty years ago with many martyrs as their Bishop Pierre Claverie, the seven monks of Tiberine or the four white fathers and many other missionaries and Christians… we reflected what it means to live the mission in our particular situation of pain and suffering, a Mission from the fragility.

In this moment we are called to live the mission with bare hands. It was not us who have chosen this time of trial, was our Lord, the Suffering Servant, who has brought us this far.

When we do mental cabals asking “What would be the ideal time for the mission?” we mess ourselves with utopian future events away from the heart of God. That ideal time of the mission doesn´t exists; the best time is today, the present… The four white parents murdered in Algeria were aware of their vulnerability and so had chosen “the fragility as the language of love …”. This time invite us to a second election they said, move from “a spirituality of development to a spirituality of presence and dialogue.” Definitely it is not but follow the model of Jesus in the flesh to live the life of men. “Learning our helplessness and be aware of our radical poverty, of our radical being naked in front of God, cannot be more than an urgent call to create no power relationships with the other; having recognized my own weakness I cannot just accept the weakness of the others, but I can even live my invitation to make mine this weakness imitating Christ poor” (Cristel, White Father).

The real dialogue is located in the no power, rooted in the weakness and fragility; there is real dialogue only when everyone is confronted with his own vulnerability and fragility. This requires a change of perspective in the style of St. Paul (1 Cor 2: 1-5) which boasts of its own fragility in order to approach the other with the strength of the weakness…

It is true; the weakness is not a virtue, but the expression of a fundamental reality of our being that has to be constantly shaped by faith, hope and charity to conform to the weakness and poverty of Christ. Jesus did not choose strong media; the Church cannot lean on its power or its strength. In these testing times of crisis and trial we are invited to escape from a self-referential Church, a Church that is an end in itself; when the Church touches the weakness and the frailty of men, then, from his own weakness can become mystery of salvation.

Throughout this pedagogy of fragility, following the steps of Comboni, we have seen how prayer is our only strength, so we have meditated on three temptations of our prayer in this time of crisis:


1st) The fear for the future… think that there is no future. We fear that God would open our eyes and undress, we are afraid because we know that when God ask for a hand he takes the whole arm…

2nd) The evasion… Live in a hypothetical future that does not exist, “if we had lived in another time, in other circumstances, with other people …” Avoidance is the fear and the denial of God´s present in my life.

3rd) The impatience… Want everything now, immediately… The logic of God’s patience goes in the other sense… the logic of the cross, of the wheat grain.

No, we haven´t chosen this time of pain and trial, was the Lord Jesus who lovingly led us here in order that from our own fragility and vulnerability, maybe, we can get into real contact with these people humiliated and outraged.

“Why do you stay?” were asked those in Algeria. This is the place of the Church, the Cross of the Lord.

By Jesus Ruiz (MCCJ in Mongoumba).