Confreres help new Brothers find opportunities in Lockdown

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Confreres help new Brothers find opportunities in Lockdown

Posted: Thu, 10 Sep 2020 17:56

  • Confreres help new Brothers find opportunities in Lockdown
  • Feathers highlight the 'Malika' (angel) theme

  • Fr Tom (Rector) toasts the Brothers' success

  • Viewing the photos

  • Browsing the exhibition

  • Mounting the photos

Br Steven Teye Mensah SDB and Br Augustine Alfred Unuakhe SDB (first photo above) arrived in the UK as the pandemic hit, and carefully-laid plans went up in the air, but their new confreres in Battersea helped them find opportunities in difficult times, to learn new skills, explore their new city, and welcome them to the community. As the start of the new academic year begins, Br Steven has moved to the Chertsey community, where he will assist in the Chaplaincy at Salesian School, and Br Augustine is remaining in Battersea and assisting in the school Chaplaincy at St John Bosco College. It is expected that they will both go on read Theological Studies in London afterwards.

Situations are bound to happen, be it expected or not. How we react in the face of a situation matters a lot; you can either grow through it or be impoverished by it. The Covid-19 pandemic is such a big blow to the world, even as we live with it still. Yet, thanks to the Battersea community, Augustine and I, newly arrived in the UK prior to the lockdown, were enrolled on a photography course run by Fr. Anthony Lobo SDB.

Whilst everyday life seemed to be at standstill, we had the opportunity to acquire a new skill. This motivated us to tour parts of London either on foot or cycle exploring monuments, artefacts and landscapes to photograph. I thoroughly enjoyed it and I am sure Augustine did as well. With the community behind us, we organised a photo exhibition for our confreres on 16th August, the birthday of Don Bosco and the Feast of the Assumption of Our Lady. The community and staff of Salesian House loved the exhibition and seemed to really be taken by our work. However, for Augustine and myself, it was a moment to say "thank you" to the Battersea community for their faith in us, for standing by us throughout the pandemic and for contributing to our knowledge; making it possible to make the most of the time we had in hand.

One might ask, "Are we professional photographers now?" Definitely the answer is NO. However, we can speak of a skill acquired, which can be useful and developed when we have all the necessary tools and the passion to do so.

Bro Steven Teye Mensah SDB

I landed in the UK at a time when an unknown plague was forcing the world to start living life in a different way. So, I was actually given the opportunity to acquire advanced photography skills.

It is important that being interested and having an ardent passion for something is always useful when learning a new skill. However, I should confess that I am not actually a fan of taking my own pictures nor that of other people. As a result, this came with its own struggle: I had to create the interest myself, being an advocate of making good use of any opportunity that comes one's way. To cut a long story short, I entered into the spirit of our course and became familiar with the skills required for photography.

Furthermore, and honestly speaking, it wasn't so easy for us to come up with a photographic exhibition that would prove to be appealing to the viewers. That said, we eventually came up with a plan and named our exhibition 'Malika' meaning angel. We were able to use this theme to link our photographs together. Feedback from the exhibition was excellent and it was reassuring to know that our photos were appealing and eye-catching. Hence, the exhibition display was a success; we were highly commended for our photographic skills.

It is a lesson to be learnt, we can procure anything as long as we put our mind to the task and enter into it with the right intention.

Br Alfred Unuakhe Augustine, SDB.

Tags: COVID-19, Homepage, Salesian Vocations, Salesians of Don Bosco