Present Day Presentation in Zambia
As Presentation Sisters we often speak of a 4th. vow, hospitality. A large part of our ministry is hospitality, whether to the many volunteers,Sisters, friends, family members, etc. who come to spend time with us and minister with us each year, or to the local people among whom we live and work. In the latter case it is very much a two way experience, the welcome and acceptance we experience from the Zambian people is key to our various ministries.
The Cheshire Home begun in 1983 continues to be the main ministry of the Sisters in Mongu. As well as caring for the children, before, during and after their operations, the Sisters provide primary education for the duration of their stay in the home. Sisters have also taught in the local High School. The Sisters respond as best they can to the many other needs presented to them on a daily basis e.g. petitions for food, shelter, travel money and medication. With help from volunteers eight small houses have been built in the last year. Self-sustainable projects such as farming and house for rent also take lot of the Sisters time and energies. Cathy and Stella, seen above with some of the children, currently minister in Mongu. Prema, the third member of the community is our representative at the UN for the coming year, as a member of an NGO grouping.
In 1978 during the Zimbabwean war of independence an Irish Presentation Sister was forced to leave that country where she had worked as a nurse for many years. She was threatened with imprisonment by the then Rhodesian government. But Zimbabwe's loss was Zambia's gain when Sr. Mary, Molly, Vianney Moloney ( the Sister with the three names!) joined the community in Kaoma.
The pandemic of the Aids virus which has cost the lives of thousands of Zambians over the past years has left over 1,000,000 orphans in its wake. In response to this need Sr. Mary and her community now cares for 134 orphans. 'Boy's Town' has 29 young boys in its care at the moment. Milk is freely supplied to many families. To cater for the educational needs of these and other local children a Community School has been built. A farm, piggery, butchery and rental property are some of the ways all these ministries are sustained.
Ines, seen here making jam, ministers in a small rural community Kabanga about 40 km from Kaoma. Thanks to Irish Aid and other contributions it now has its own clinic. Angela, who taught for many years in Bandon, Co. Cork in Ireland, is teaching at the local high school and is tireless in her dedication to the students both in and out of school hours. Clementina, the first Zambian Presentation Sister, works in the local hospital and oversees the Home Based Care programme for those suffering from HIV/Aids.
Irene, the fifth member of the community, teaches in the local schooland is preparing for further education in Kenya.
Many Sisters have been part of the Pemba story from its beginnings twenty years ago. Indeed this is true of all our missions houses. It would be impossible at this time to mention everyone's contribution, but each one knows that her 'building stone' has been much appreciated and in many cases built upon by others.
Mary hands over the 'keys' of eight new houses to some very happy families. This has been made possible by the generous donations of many people and hours of work which Mary and the community freely gave in overseeing this project. Mary is still 'battling' with bureaucracy for title deeds! Catherine looks after the annals of the province in-between her 'front door' ministry. Bernadette who taught in the local primary school and is there for the students at all hours is presently recovering from heart surgery.
As in most of our communities, care for those affected by the Hiv/Aids virus forms a big part of ministry in the Kalomo community; Teresa is involved full-time. Numba teaches in the school. Recently the Women's Group, with the support of the Sisters, has completed a dam on the land which they work in common. This project helps to support over 60 families. Other self-sustainable projects are also being undertaken by the sisters and their co-workers. Mbololwa, who has recently been professed teaches in the school and is preparing for further studies.
In the year 2000 the Sichili mission was handed over to another group of Sisters, also from India. This was a very emotional time for all the Sisters, but especially those from India. One's first 'mission' experience is a bit like one's first love - it always holds a special place in one's heart.
Two years previously the Vice Province experienced a very great sadness when two Sisters, Simeon and Anita, died in a car accident and Zinha was injured. We rarely pass the spot on the road where the accident happened without recalling that sad day and great loss.
Since first coming to Livingstone the Sisters have been very involved both at local and Diocesan level. It would be impossible to give a full picture of the many good works and projects which have benefited and are still benefiting the local people. The Rainbows Programme which the Sisters introduced is still going strong.
Another project worth mentioning at this time is the YCTC The Youth Community Training Centre which reaches out to all the youth of Livingstone - especially those unable to access regular schooling. Joesphine, seen here with Fr. Joseph and volunteers, was the principal motivator of this project.
The present community, Lynette, Inonge, Judith, Una and Zinha are all involved in different ministries. Lynette is often called upon to facilitate groups, she leads reflective days on the Spirituality of Care for the Earth and is the principal formator for the pre-novitiate girls. Inonge and Judith both are full time teachers but also find time for parish involvement such as choir and small Christian communities and visitation of sick and support for bereaved families. They are also very involved in Vocation promotion.
Una visits the prison, teaches English outside of school, also the keyboard, and is Spiritual Accompanier of individuals and small groups. Zinha who is
very involved in Vocation promotion and the Rainbows programme is presently recovering from illness in India.
Livingstone is known as the Tourist Capital of Zambia, mainly because it is home to the famous Victoria Falls or as they are called in the local language Mosi -O-Tunya ( the smoke that thunders) a very apt description of the Falls after the rains have come.
Lusaka is the capital city of Zambia. Soon after the Vice-Province was formed a house was bought to serve as a centre house for Leadership and house of hospitality for the Sisters, their co-workers, friends, family, volunteers and the many many others who pass through each year. Luzi Road as it is called from its address is a busy house and those who live there are very very special people! We have been blessed over the years by the Sisters who have come from Ireland, after retirement, to spend two or three years as Housekeeper/Hospatility person in Luzi Rd.
Along with the house staff, Gertrude Catherine and Christopher, Anne Aurea and Bella, form Community in Luzi Rd. at the moment, and practice Hospitality with a capital H along with all their other ministries.
In one of the popular compounds of Lusaka can now be found a Community School which caters for over 1000 children each day - this is mainly thanks to Mary, seen here outside the school with two visitors, Mary has now returned to Ireland but her good work and that of other Sisters remain after them.
The International Spirituality Centre in Lusaka was begun by the Christian Brothers but as Presentation Sisters we have worked in close collaboration with them in this and other projects over the years. Presently Sue, from New Zealand, is full time living and working in this Centre.
Presentation African Novitiate
The common Zambian/Zimbabwean Novitiate is now in Lusaka also. The formation Team is made up of Sheila and Brigit from Zambia, and Ancilla and Breege from Zimbabwe. Angela, who has worked in formation for many years is presently caring for her mother in Ireland.