Democratic Republic of the Congo - Portrait of young Joseph

12 January 2018

(ANS - Lubumbashi) - "Joseph arrived at 'Bakanja Ville', the Salesian center in Lubumbashi dedicated to the first reception of street children, last May," says Delphine Morin, a volunteer at the same center. "It was a street kid who found him and took him to the center. The child was in a bad state: he had continuous epileptic seizures, which left him weakened and frightened, and a nasty wound to the tibia that prevented him from walking. Communication with him was not at all easy: with mental retardation, he barely spoke and seemed to have his head perpetually in the clouds."

At first Joseph slept a great deal to recover from the epileptic fits and to heal his leg. With the help and work of many people, Joseph was healed and started to feel well at the Salesian center. At Bakanja Ville he was given a cure to control and reduce his epileptic attacks, until they disappeared.

During the child's recovery, social workers tried to establish a dialogue with him, but Joseph insisted only on repeating 'Mwambui' when he was asked about his mother, a term that in the local language refers to a woman who has had twins.

One day, Elie, a young boy recently welcomed at the center, said he knew Joseph's mother, a street vendor at M'zee Kabila's market. For days, social workers went out to look for her, but without results. Until the story was repeated! A newcomer to Bakanja Ville said he knew Joseph and his family, of whom he had been a neighbor. The social workers got back on their feet and in the end they managed to track down Joseph's family! Ready to celebrate the funeral, believing he was dead: the child had simply walked from home and had been unable to find his way back.

The day after the mother arrived in Bakanja Ville: the reunion with her son was a beautiful moment!

What would have happened to Joseph if he had not been welcomed to Bakanja Ville? Where would he be today? Every day we welcome dozens of children with stories similar to Joseph's. They are children marked by life, abandoned and on the margins of society, who come to us for help.


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.

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