Ethiopia - "These children have changed my heart and my life"

27 May 2016

(ANS - Dilla) - "I have seen once again that as the Salesian Family we were born to be close, ever closer to the poor," said the Rector Major during his visit to Ethiopia. When I think of this country the two things that come to my mind are poverty and famine. To these two problems we can add a third which is drought. This year’s drought is "among the most serious of the last three decades, generating a vicious circle which leaves 10.2 million people exposed to a severe food crisis."

Despite this social situation, the Salesians are working to continue to give hope to young people. Joanna Piotrowska is a Polish volunteer.  She tells her story, which is also the story of "those children who have not only radically changed my heart, but have expanded it, and made it larger."

"I had never thought of going on a mission. Really never,” she says. “I had never seen a touching film on Africa, the ones that show us a little of the beauty of the flora and fauna. I had never read articles on poverty and hunger in this Black Land. Stories of this type never excited me.

In 2015 when I arrived at the house of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians at Dilla, Ethiopia, I thought: 'My God, what am I doing here?' I had never thought about this type of work, nor about the people. The problem was that I had never thought about the missions. In fact I had a small selfish heart.  I was unable to embrace with love my own loved ones nor, of course, the children. I had never worried about a malnourished child because I had always been incapable of loving. 

Everything changed when I experienced missionary work for myself. I started working in the oratory. I was in charge of the children, taking care of them. I do not say just that these children radically changed my heart, but they managed to enlarge my small, narrow selfish heart."



ANS - “Agenzia iNfo Salesiana” is a on-line almost daily publication, the communication agency of the Salesian Congregation enrolled in the Press Register of the Tibunal of Rome as n 153/2007.

This site also uses third-party cookies to improve user experience and for statistical purposes. By scrolling through this page or by clicking on any of its elements, you consent to the use of cookies. To learn more or to opt out, click "Further Information".