AFRICA / DJIBOUTI – The small but significant presence of a Church in dialogue


AFRICA / DJIBOUTI – The small but significant presence of a Church in dialogue

Djibouti (Agenzia Fides) – “It is a small, fragile Church, but strong in the light of the Gospel which cannot be announced verbally, being an Islamic country, but lived. Certainly, the Christians and the sisters who live there are a small but significant presence. ”Sister Simona Brambilla, Superior General of the Missionaries of Consolata (MC), a congregation that works in Djibouti with a mission opened in 2004, says so in a conversation with Agenzia Fides.
On the border between Ethiopia and Somalia, Djibouti is a desert land that is home to different ethnicities, and where the Church has done so much in terms of dialogue while respecting differences. Just a few days ago, Mgr. Giorgio Bertin, bishop of Djibouti, apostolic administrator of Somalia, gave an interview to the Catholic weekly “La difesa del Popolo”.
The Bishop, evoking the geopolitical situation in Somalia and the work of the Church, recalled how much the Church in Djibouti was even ahead of its time, as in the case of the action in favor of people with disabilities, which until ‘to a few years ago kept separate at home.
This is how, over time, a State agency was born in charge of their maintenance and promotion, as well as missions like the one that Sr. Anna Bacchion MC, in Djibouti since the foundation of the mission in 2004, which explains to Agenzia Fides this inclusive project called “School for all”: “In 2013, an inclusive school for children with physical and mental disabilities began. This project was designed and implemented by the Church of Djibouti. Today, after years of hard work, several children have been admitted to public and private primary schools. Their families understood the importance of this school. Before, their children, because they were handicapped, remained locked up, hidden in their huts, and now they are free and more sure of themselves, because, like other children, they can write and read. Our children leave this school with the conviction that they know how to do good things. This program started as a small seed, but has now grown and has also been adopted by the government, which wants to extend it to all schools to facilitate the integration of children with disabilities in public schools ”. Sr Anna, who had already had a missionary experience in Libya in a Muslim context in 1976, describes the two experiences as positive and enlightening in order to understand a fact: the dialogue of life must infect and disseminate the values ​​of welcome and tenderness. “In Djibouti, since 2004 – concludes the nun – I started a simple dialogue, a dialogue which is silent to listen, trying to value the good present in the other, a dialogue which seeks to emanate the perfume of Christ. not difficult to enter into dialogue with the poor of our villages and also with adults. My people are a people who believe, who pray, who celebrate festivals, who rejoice, who suffer and who often only want our closeness to share their joys and their difficulties “. (EG) (Agenzia Fides, 15/12 / 2021)

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