I wish to share the experience of the past two years with the girls who are in the Parish of St. Benedict in Djalingo, North Cameroun and more precisely in the archdiocese of Garoua.
I feel happy and I embraced this new mission challenge with serenity after working for about 10 years in the pastoral activity. In particular in the formation of the new catechists, in the coordination of the Cop Monde Movement (like Catholic Youth Action), and in the accompaniment of the group of the readers of the Word of God and Catholic women of the Parish of Bibemi.
In 2017, I started living this new missionary commitment taking charge of the Training center for the Girls.
I looked at this activity from far away always because I had always thought that was a service suitable for young sisters and therefore not for me. With the grace of God, I slowly opened my heart and I believed that it was also possible for me to live this challenge because it was the result of a journey to follow God, carried out in these 11 years in Cameroun.
Therefore, gradually I reached Djalingo to give continuity to this activity that our Congregation had been carrying out for several years. We are already reaping many fruits, thanks to the efforts of other sisters who had carried out this responsibility before me such as Sr. Shephali Pereira and Sr. Lucia Cavallo.
On the first day of my service in the Training Center, I do not remember well what my strong emotion was. However, I remember clearly how the pupils of my eyes dilated 100% as soon as entering the hall, I saw 156 young girls between 16 to 25 years, coming from different families, villages, religions and life situations, and who were perfect strangers to me in that moment. How could I do it?
The first biggest challenge is to create a familiar atmosphere among the girls of the center, especially among the elderly and the new arrivals. An evangelical challenge, not easy but possible.
It was necessary for me to become humble in front of God between joys and efforts and to say to myself: courage, prudence, respect and a lot, a lot of patience … as they often say in Cameroon: WE ARE TOGETHER.
I was happy and I appreciated the service rendered, but above all, I am convinced that this experience has been so beneficial for me personally, even though I have often suffered because of situations of poverty that left me speechless and unable to give responses. I learned to look at that daily reality without reacting. I felt a great compassion in myself by noticing the difficulties and sufferings of these girls facing poverty.
I believe that the experience is very helpful and it has been a great richness for me, too. Being able to live in the frontiers of evangelization. At this point, I am more aware of what I can give as a person for the moral, spiritual and material well-being of people.
I am very happy I have been able to collaborate in the promotion and development of these girls and above all, I have done it for the glory of God.
Sr. Lilian Marinho, Cameroun province now in Brazil for service.
A SHORT PRESENTATION OF THE CENTER
The Young Girls Training Center is located in the Parish of St. Benedict in Djalingo, which is 18 km from Garoua. From the beginning, this Center is managed by us, Missionary sisters of the Immaculate. However, the first person in charge of the center is the parish priest.
The Center can accommodate 150 girls, 60 of whom can be given accommodation day and night within the Center’s facilities. The training of the girls lasts 3 years. At the end of the training period, a Certificate is given to the girls. It works from Monday to Friday morning. There are seven teachers and there is a sister as the directors of the Center.
The training consists of French literacy courses, cutting and sewing, embroidery, knitting, an education course to Life and Love, confrontations and educational exchanges on different topics, catering, theoretical course for the breeding of livestock.
In fact, for some years the archdiocese has been working to provide guidelines and pedagogical training for teachers through the structure called Codas Caritas, the “Development of women and the family”.
The Parish of St. Benedict of Djalingo is led by the Fidei Donum priests of the Archdiocese of Milan in collaboration, for the pastoral activities, with the Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate.