2020-01-22 CAMEROON

The Sociopolitical Crisis in Cameroon Challenges Brothers to look beyond the Classrooms

The Marist Brothers in Cameroon have had a reputation for excellent quality education for more than half a century. Most people know the Brothers for nothing else than committed educators and school managers. Even some Brothers feel lost or inadequate believing they have nothing more to offer than teach in the formal school setting. The current sociopolitical crisis rocking the two English Speaking regions of Cameroon has brought all educational programs of the Brothers to a complete standstill and schools shut down, challenging the Brothers, especially those of Tatum community to review their sense of brotherhood in the absence of formal schooling.

The three Brothers in Tatum Community during this academic year (2019 /2020) have challenged themselves to give another image of brotherhood through service to the local Christian community and young people in general. Instead of lamenting and waiting for school resumption that seems not to be happening, the Brothers have been collaborating with the parish pastoral team in the animation of the youth group, prayer and action groups, Small Christian Communities besides computer literacy classes for children in the community. The Advent and Christmas seasons were particularly charged with organization of recollection for Christians in preparation for Christmas and celebration of Communion Service in collaboration with the Parish Priest. The traditional Christmas party with the children equally brought hundreds of them to the community where the Brothers were overwhelmed in their efforts to entertain them.

These activities have so far opened the doors of the community to request for counseling services especially at a time when many families and young people are deeply disoriented by the ongoing crisis. It is also an eye opener for what awaits us as youth ministers at the end of this crisis when our schools may be flooded with children whose family homes have been destroyed, parents killed or kidnapped / arrested and tortured, sexually abused pushing some into teenage motherhood. It is equally possible that some of our students who are no longer in schools have joined the ranks of drugged and armed separatist fighters who may resolve to come back and continue schooling.

Are we well-armed to give them the needed psycho-spiritual and moral guidance for proper reinsertion in the society?

__________

Br Stephen Kpunsa

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