Communication from the Bishop’s Conference of Southern Africa regarding the highly controversial E-Tolling system

Raymond McQuarrie 2Dear Friends,
Please see below the communication from the Bishop’s Conference of Southern Africa regarding the highly controversial E-Tolling system.
This coming Saturday (25th May 2013), Fr. Mike Deeb (SACBC J&P Coordinator) and myself have called a meeting of all J&P groups and interested people, at the Regina Mundi Catholic Church in Soweto, at 10:30am, to look at how we as a Church can deal with this issue, and plan our campaign.
The press release itself can be used in your communities, prayer groups and Justice and Peace groups as a discussion paper which we hope will encourage you to further action.
Please be informed on this issue and contact the SACBC J&P Department should you like to know more on the Catholic Bishop’s stance.  Lots of information can be found online too.
With every good wish and God bless.
Raymond A. McQuarrie, M.Afr.
Vicar for Justice & Peace
Archdiocese of Johannesburg
Gauteng, South Africa
Justice and Peace Press Release on E-tolling
SACBC Justice and Peace Statement on E-Tolling and Gov Accountability

An AA Dream

Guido_Stuer1Coming closer to the end of his trip to Zambia, as a way to express his gratitude to everyone who welcomed him so nicely, Guido Stuer is offering this poem as a reminder that God loves us all.
I dreamed one night I passed away,
And left this world behind.
I started down that lonely trail
Some of my friends to find.
I came to a signpost on the trail
The directions it did tell:
TURN LEFT to go to HELL.
I hadn’t been too good on earth,
Just a hopeless boozing rake,
And knew there at the crossroads
The path I’d have to take.
So I started on that rocky path
That leads to Satan’s place;
And I shook within not knowing
Just what I’d have to face.
Old Satan met me at the gate,
“What is your name, my friends?”
I said, “I’m just old sober Sam
That’s come to a sad end”.
He glanced through some yellow files,
“You’re listed as an ALCOHOLIC,
We do not want you here.”
I said, “I’m looking for my friends,”
And a smile stole o’er his face.
“If your friends are alcoholics
They’re in the other place.”
So I went back the way I came
Till the crossroads I did see.
Then turned right to Heaven
As happy as could be.
St. Peter smiled and said: “come in,
For you I have a berth.
You are an alcoholic.
You’ve been through hell on earth.”
I saw al Dud and old Pat too.
Rill R. and a friend called Bell.
And brother I was tickled
‘Cause I thought they’d gone to hell.
So brothers all take warning,
Learn something from my trip.
You’re got a place in heaven
If you try hard not to slip.
If someone tempts you with a drink
When you’re not feeling well,
Tell him you’ve going to heaven
And he can go to hell!

Antislavery Workshop in Chipata

Dave CullenBy Dave Cullen, M.Afr
The Association of Religious Men of Zambia (ARMZ) here in Chipata decided that on the occasion of a meeting of members to elect a new executive it would be fitting at the same time to hold a day’s workshop on ‘Slavery in our midst’. It was our way of linking up with the 125th anniversary of Cardinal Lavigerie’s tour of Europe to campaign for the end of slavery as also to commemorate the birth of Livingstone 200 years ago.
there were 12 members of ARMZ present at the workshop, 4 of them Missionaries of Africa. Others who accepted our invitation to attend were 2 representatives from five Sister’s Congregations, 2 Dutch volunteers very much concerned with helping prostitutes in Chipata plus representatives from the local clergy, Caritas and Radio Maria. There were four very good presentations, on prostitution, street kids, child labour in rural areas and exploitation of the vulnerable through cheap labour. After each presentation there was group sharing on just one question: what can we do to overcome these forms of slavery in our midst? Hopefully we will take up the challenges presented and work through such bodies as ZAS, Caritas, NGO’s as well as those groups and individuals who show particular concern in these areas, amongst them presenters of these problems to us who were clearly concerned and actively committed to find solutions.
We shall hold another meeting next year at which we shall ask: what did you actually do about those resolutions you took at last year’s workshop? Hopefully there will be some positive progress recorded. If there is we shall share the good news with you.

Burial of Steven Chowa, brother of our confrere Bernard

Bernard Chowa 02Our confrere Bernard Chowa has returned to Tanzania today after a delay of one day due to the cancellation of his flight on Precision Air. The funeral of his brother Steven Chowa took place on Thursday the 9th May at The Good Shepherd Parish in Kabwata, Lusaka. Together with his wife, the decease is leaving behind four girls and one boy. Steven Chowa was a hardworking man entirely dedicated to his family. He is the one who took care of Bernard by allowing him to pursue his education and become a missionary priest. Bernard is very grateful to the Missionaries of Africa for the support he received from them.
Let us pray for his ministry in Tanzania and for the entire family still crying for the loss of such a committed man.
See also:

Death of the brother of Father Bernard Chowa, missionary in Tanzania

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Words of thanks from Patrice R. Sawadogo following his surgery in India

Dear confreres,
You might have heard that I was away to India for treatment. You surely have joined your prayers to those of my fellow confreres working here in Zambia, my community members, my parents, siblings and relatives as well as my friends, imploring the good Lord for a successful outcome of my worrisome knee surgery. I am very glad to write to you today to confirm that God has granted your prayers: the surgery went smooth and was successful. I am grateful to God and to you all for seeing me through this ordeal.
I sustained a complete anterior ligament rupture sometime in August, in Kasanka, while playing football with the youth of our Parish. For this kind of injury, the sole solution is to undergo surgery to reconstruct the torn ligament. But this kind of surgery is not yet available in Zambia. Owing to this fact I was then sent to India, amidst various possibilities for treatment.
Great fear and profound sadness overwhelmed me when I got the visa to India and it became certain for me that I will have to venture into this unknown Asian continent.  Great sense of fear crept into my heart when I thought of the many and frequent natural calamities, the political and religious upheavals, the various sorts of hardships that occur in that part of the world. My fear grew even higher when I was told that in India I will face loneliness if I am not rejected, that nobody will even want to shake hands with me. Indeed I experienced great fear and I was deeply saddened to go to India but in the end fear didn’t overcome me.
Patrice R. Sawadogo in India 00I eventually started off for Bengaluru in India on the 5th April where I reached safe and sound on the 6th. I was right away astounded by the extreme and never ever seen huge amount of people in Bangalore. Besides, the traffic comprising of cars, huge amount of motorbikes, three wheel cars for public transport, buses and trucks appeared to me very chaotic, highly risky and dangerous. At the very beginning I would always experience headaches and dizziness whenever we go on the road. Thanks to God and to the good community driver and the confreres, no accident, no harm whatsoever occurred.
I was greeted with a warm welcome in our missionary formation house. Students and confreres proved me right from the beginning till the end of my stay that I was their brother. They showed concern for what I was going through. They were very compassionate and supported me in a particular way that I can never forget. All, most particularly students, were eager to know something about Africa, about Zambia, about our apostolate.
Our neighbors as well were very good to me. Upon arrival in the community, the following day, while walking along our wall, there came an Indian couple with their grown up kids and they started a conversation with me visibly happy and amazed to see an African in the surroundings. I was flabbergasted when they themselves asked to shake hands with me. In the same way, our neighboring community of religious sisters was very much welcoming to me as they often paid me visit. I had the opportunity to visit the African community of students. I said mass for them in French as they usually have mass on every first Sunday of the month with Fr. Sabu. The students are mainly from Ivory Coast, Cameroun, Togo, Ghana, and Senegal. I felt very much at home in India following the good welcome and upon realization that there are many Africans in India. My initial fear disappeared. I was then ready to go to the hospital to start the treatment for which I was in India.
Patrice R. Sawadogo in India 01The hospital staff members, doctors, nurses and workers showed to me great respect, openness and kindness. My knee surgeon would explain everything to me before the surgery: what went wrong in the knee and the way he was going to perform the operation, the various steps I would pass through after surgery to reach complete healing. He asked for few lab tests and was able to discover that my kidney’s function is not as high as it should be for a young man of my age. He straightaway called for the nephrologists who came within minutes. They gave the green light for the surgery when they realized that the low function of the kidney was due to painkillers I have been taking in Africa. They were certain that this would not hinder the surgery process but I would need to treat it as soon as possible lest it worsened. The nephrologists’ observation was right. The surgery was a success and two days later I was discharged. I went back home where the physiotherapy doctor daily attended to me. I was able to walk upright, though limping, after two weeks of physiotherapy. I dropped my walkers and went back to the nephrologists to deal with my kidney malfunction. He was very welcoming and nice. He again explained what might have slowed down the performance of my kidney and the kind of treatment he is going to give me. He gave me nephrocaps. I was to take one tablet daily with a lot of water for one week to cleanse the kidney and then go for lab tests. I was very delighted to hear him say: “Only God knows everything and can do everything. I am not God but I am pretty sure this only tablet will be enough to solve your problem.” One week later I brought to him the results of the lab tests. They were perfect. I didn’t need any treatment except to continue drinking a lot of water and avoid pain killer tablets. Meanwhile my knee had steadily improved. The pain had gone down and I was able to bend it up to 90 percent. That is when the two doctors gave me the green light to go back to Zambia. Which I did without delay lest I start worshiping the “holy cows”! I was back to Lusaka on the 10th of May.
Patrice R. Sawadogo in India 02bI would like to express my profound gratitude to God and to you all for the success of my treatment. Sincere gratitude to the confreres who made it possible for me to go to India for treatment and to all who stood by my side day and night (even spending nights with me at the hospital) in Bangalore. My gratitude goes as well towards the confreres and all who shoulder the burden of driving me to the hospital daily for the physiotherapy sessions.
I found treatment in India very excellent and at very low price (even cheaper than treatment here in Africa). No wonder a lot of people from all over the world do travel there for treatment. At Narayana Hospital in Bangalore, I met patients from the Middle East, Algeria, Nigeria, Congo, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Kenya and so on. To me, India is an alternative possibility where confreres could be sent for treatment, if feasible and necessary. Our community, the Formation House, is at more or less five minutes drives to the above mentioned hospital. There would only be a need to think about appointing a confrere to care for the patients as I saw it to be a highly demanding task.
Patrice R. Sawadogo, M.Afr.