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Look at the world with the eyes of poor children


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28/07/2014: Malawi


class=imgshadowToday, 26th July, 2014, I was invited  by Mrs. Thole, who runs the Little Angels Nursery School beside Champagnat Community Day Secondary School  which  was started by the late Br. Patrick Bwana, a pioneer local Brother in the sector of Malawi,  to be a guest of honour.

As I was watching the  little ones staging different  entertaining activities before their mothers, a phrase that came to my mind was the call of the XXI General Chapter, “Brothers to poor children and young people, present among them as they search for meaning. Brothers with passion to be signs of God’s love, and bold enough to move to areas where others do not go.” I could feel that these children in gowns who were being promoted to start standard one in the forthcoming September, are  the poor ones, learning in grass thatched structures as you can see from the background. The fence too is of grass tied with ropes. For me it was the first time to enter here but I have been passing here many times.

I said to myself,  “The new Jean Baptiste Montagnes are here.” These children  who are all three years old or so come  from both christian and moslem families. I could see the silent ecumenism at its  embryo stage. Slowly they will understand each others’ religions and live as friends beyond religion boundaries.                                                                                                                             

I challenged the parents to take keen interest in the education of their children by collaborating closely with their teachers. When there are tensions between teachers and children’s parents, discipline will suffer and this will affect the children progress. Education is a collaborative activity and each one has a role to play. I could see the future of good citizens and religious people is here. I observed that the school enjoys the trust and esteem of the parents, as a large number of children come from the neighbouring villages,  although the quarters are unsatisfactory, small, unhealthy and poorly constructed.   The classroom is too small for the numbers as far as space, air and light are concerned. It is a structure which the blasts of adversity could carry off at the first opportunity as Champagnat said at Marlhes.

This is a typical rural area and St. Marcellin would  advice us to follow the example of Br. Laurent at Le Bessat where ignorance of religion reigned. Will people of good will come in, only time will tell.  All I can say is that these are the poor children that warrant to make us spend sleepless nights. Their hope is that one day people of good-will will come to their aid.

Brother Simeon Banda, fms. Mtendere campus, Malawi.

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