Kabwe (Agenzia Fides) - The Missionaries of Scheut (CICM), Congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, offer assistance to the victims of HIV and AIDS in Zambia: many of them are orphans, homeless children who do not have access to health care. In 2007, Belgian missionary Fr. Pierre Ruquoy arrived in Zambia. Due to the death threats he received and the expulsion from the Republic of Santo Domingo, CICM sent him on a mission to the central province of Zambia, where there was nothing, there was not a parish, a church. In this very inhospitable place the missionary founded the Sunflower, an orphanage that currently hosts over a hundred children and offers food and shelter to the most vulnerable children. The priest has so far dedicated himself to the care of AIDS orphans, giving them hope and education in an attempt to contribute to the reconstruction of Zambia.
For serious health reasons, Father Pierre is currently in Belgium and, aware of his health condition, told Fides about the last days spent in the Savannah before leaving to undergo surgery in his native country. And he delivered a sort of spiritual testament: "Our life is in the hands of God and we do not know how or when we will pass the door to the Kingdom of Heaven. Faced with my health situation, I am trying to convince myself that perhaps the time has come to start a new phase of my life", says Fr. Pierre. "These were really special days, and when you read these lines, I hope to still be alive in my homeland in full recovery from the removal of a cancerous tumor.
Father Ruquoy spent about 30 years of his life on a mission in the Republic of Santo Domingo, in an area called Barahona, on the border with Haiti. He lived in a bateye, the sugar cane plantations where cane harvesters live, leaving the country in 2005. Zambia is home to over a million orphaned children, most of whom will never receive an education or legitimate health assistance. Despite being a Country rich in natural resources, most of its inhabitants are forced to work in the fields.
Over 60% of the population lives below the poverty line and the phenomenon. Over 60% of the population lives below the poverty line and the phenomenon of corruption is really rampant. The Catholic Church has been strongly present in Zambia for over 100 years (see Fides 22/7/2017), engaged in social and political activities. (CH/AP) (Agenzia Fides, 7/5/2018)