Uganda – Easter in Kampala and Palabek, amid problems and hopes

19 April 2019

(ANS - Kampala) - Kampala, with the obvious contradictions of the capitals of developing countries; and Palabek, in the refugee center that houses the last of the last – here, too, in these two problematic realities the message of Easter shall resound: a message of hope that the Salesians, present in both places, try to testify every day of the year.

Chaotic and with so many contradictions - this is Kampala, the capital of Uganda. The metropolis most sought after by the country's villagers who in the big city come to seek their fortune. “The average salary here is 20,000 or 30,000 shillings, 300,000 a year. About 1,000 US dollars,” explains Fr Elie Nyandwi, Director of the Salesian mission in Namugongo, about thirty kilometers from Kampala. Present since 2006 and for ten years supported by "Missioni Don Bosco" of Turin, here the Salesians manage the "Children And Life Mission" (CALM) center, which welcomes around 150 vulnerable children and adolescents every day.

“In Uganda there is crime because people are poor,” said Fr Elie Nyandwi. “The economy is based on small business and finding work is very difficult, especially for young people.”

The center of Namugongo, with a primary school and a kindergarten, is home to mostly orphans and refugees, and children with difficult family situations. “Some want to become priests, other soldiers and others still businessmen,” continues the religious.

The project of the Salesian elementary school in Namugongo started in 2015 and was supported by the Salesian Mission Office of Turin, "Missions Don Bosco".

The same Office recently launched another charity project in Uganda, inside the Palabek refugee camp, where the Salesians arrived last year.

The refugees welcomed there are, above all, South Sudanese Catholics who need pastoral, liturgical and spiritual assistance and are hungry for sacraments, mass and other pastoral and spiritual activities.

Tomorrow night, in the Easter Vigil, 150 catechumens will be baptized in Palabek!

In the last year and a half at least 12 prayer points have been organized, where Masses and other liturgical programs are celebrated: it is always officiated outdoors, but obviously this is not always possible and in any case it is problematic.

For this reason the Salesians have decided to create 12 small chapels, between solid and lasting ones and semi-permanent ones. And through prayer and other ecclesial activities, they can spread peace and fraternity.


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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