Lionel, did you expect to spend part of your summer on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean?
No, it was a strange surprise! But the life of a Salesian religious is made up of surprises. It is often said that we Salesians do not take the "mobility vow", but that we practice it. It's the first time I've been away from France for a summer mission. I thank the Lord, Don Bosco, Lakou Bosco and the Salesians for their trust.
So, do you work for the Lakou Bosco association?
Yes, my mission is simply to animate and reach neighborhood children, children who cannot go on vacation and go to so-called classic structures, such as recreation centers. I go to the neighborhoods every day with Pierre, also a Salesian, who has been there for a year now, and an apprentice animator from the West Indies. Children are happy to see us. The activities are simple: archery, drawing, dominoes, frisbee, soccer, badminton, etc. In the month of July we were about fifteen volunteers offering these activities.
Tell us more about Lakou Bosco.
The Lakou Bosco association is inspired by the Valdocco association in France and is a prevention association that offers activities for young people in the neighborhoods near the parish of Saint-Luc in Les Abymes. With the help of volunteers, it supports young people in their school education. The other day, we received testimony from a local resident who told us that the atmosphere was calmer and that the young people have been playing together since we were there. This is encouraging!
Did you get to know the parish of Saint-Luc better?
Absolutely. The reception of the parishioners was very nice. I discovered a popular faith: the rosary, a very strong Marian devotion. Sure, I'm only staying a month, so I will only discover a part of the culture of Guadeloupe, but I met Louise, Cathy and Claudie, who are real "Mothers Margherita" at the service of the Church. The women of Guadeloupe are the future of the Church!