Addis Abeba (Agenzia Fides) - "The bus we asked to transport HIV positive women has arrived at last". This is what Father Christopher Hartley, a Spanish missionary who has been living in Gode since 2008 between Ethiopia and Somalia tells Fides.
"We needed a proper means of transport to bring, morning and evening, the sick women together with their young children in the home of our mission built by PROYECTO TAMARA which started in Gode in 2015 to assist these women and their children (see Fides 30/10/2015)", continues the missionary.
"The dream has finally come true. During the construction of the mission building, the Church was always present in the local community visiting the population. Often we went to visit the sick and we decided to answer the needs of those who have nothing and no one who cares about their basic needs. Playing with the children and talking with their mothers we managed to get in touch with the most vulnerable community members and we started bringing girls and sick women to the local hospital", continues Fr. Christopher.
"In addition, since the majority have Aids, we started bringing them to the Regional Hospital for care. From then on, the hospital requested our collaboration to identify HIV-positive patients who had left their care. There was a memorandum of understanding between the Church and the Regional Hospital, with the support of our Apostolic Vicar, Mgr. Angelo Pagano, capuchin, (OFM)", adds the missionary.
"Many of the women we contacted work in the btothels in Godepostribuli a waitresses, housekeepers, prostitutes, and so on. Often they are under 25, little children and without any means of subsistence. They become prostitutes due to extreme necessity. They think they have no other choice and do not consider the danger of Aids and other illness at all".
"We decided to buy the bus because there is no transport service in the area and the locals can only reach the mission on board very expensive motorbikes. Our bus will now give us the opportunity to bring more women and children to Galilea at any time, making everything more efficient. It will also allow the staff involved to be present with women and children. Likewise, it will allow us to start primary school for older children and also for those who live far from schools in the city.
We accompany women and their children (if they are sick) to the hospital or medical clinic, to appointments for HIV treatment, we support the costs of all the medical tests they cannot afford.
Due to the distances, children cannot go to school or have medical care. We are therefore planning to open two Infant education classes (with about 25-30 children each) in addition to the manual courses we have already started with women. The goal is to serve between 50-60 children and girls, some of whom are children of women who attend manual courses while others belong to neighboring communities. (CH/AP) (Agenzia Fides, 23/11/2017)