Salesian Cooperators help Sisters feed families in Kenya
Posted: Thu, 10 Sep 2020 16:00
Fr Francis & Fr John
Families arrive and wait
A mother says some words of thanks
Last month, we reported on the work the Salesian Sisters are doing to help people in a poor area near Nairobi to survive the hunger which is one consequence of the restrictions imposed to control COVID-19, and the Salesian Cooperators in Cowley responded with a generous donation. Last week, Fr Francis Preston SDB (a member of our Province working in Nairobi) was invited to join the Sisters and meet some of the local families they support. First picture above: Sr Purity, Fr Francis and Sr Winnie.
Last Tuesday morning, 18 August, the Salesian Sisters' community at Dagoretti Market, a very poor slum district on the outskirts of Nairobi, invited me to join them for the first of two morning sessions for the distribution of bags of food. During the Tuesday morning session, bags were distributed to more than a hundred families whose children and young people attend the learning and skills projects run by the Sisters at the education centre next to their convent.
I travelled to Dagoretti with our two recently ordained Vietnamese missionary priests, Fr Anh and Fr John, who will soon be returning to Zambia to continue their Salesian ministry there. On our arrival, we received a very warm welcome from Sr Purity, the leader of the community, and Sisters Irene and Winnie. Our first task was to place a large white bag of basic foodstuffs in each of the 35 socially-distanced chalk circles drawn on surface of the playground of the educational centre. Once this had been done, the first 35 family groups who had been waiting patiently outside the Sisters' compound were admitted. Everyone had to carefully wash their hands and rinse them with a sanitiser before taking their place in one of the circles.
When all the circles had been occupied, Sr Purity welcomed everyone and explained that the food being distributed that morning had been paid for by a donation from a group of Salesian Cooperators in the UK. One of the mothers then said a few very moving words of thanks and promised the prayers of all those present for the good people who had remembered them in their time of need. After a few words of farewell from Sr Purity and myself, the whole group, among who were two or three Moslem families, left through a gate on the other side of the compound. Once the playground was empty, another bag of food was placed in each circle and the next group of 35 families admitted.
The Sister had arranged things so efficiently that within the space of 90 minutes more than 120 families had received a very warm welcome from the Sisters, collected their large bag of food and happily headed off home to have for many their first substantial meal in perhaps two or three days or even longer. As for myself, and Fathers John and Anh, we then joined the Sisters for an enjoyable lunch, during which they explained that the following morning they would be distributing bags of food to an even larger number of people, including elderly members of the local parish and some very needy families recommended by the local area Chief.
Fr Francis Preston
Please pray for the people of Dagoretti Market, and for the Sisters. If you would like to make a contribution to the project, please contact Nicola Howell, our Finance Manager, on email@example.com, and she will tell you how to donate, and ensure your donation reaches the Sisters via Fr Francis.