OCEANIA/PAPUA NEW GUINEA - Schools reopen after lockdown

Friday, 15 May 2020 coronavirus   school   mission  


Bereina (Agenzia Fides) - The gate of the Jesus Good Shepherd Primary School has reopened. After a few weeks of lockdown in Papua due to the Covid-19 emergency, children return to class. "Thank God, only 8 infected cases have been officially registered in Papua New Guinea, and no deaths. Life returns to normality", writes Sister Giovanna Bordin, missionary of the "Cavanis Fraternity Jesus Good Shepherd", in Bereina to Agenzia Fides. "The lockdown here lasted a few weeks, and given that there were a few cases of contagion, schools, offices and activities are slowly returning to normal", continues the missionary. "Of course, also here we have had to adapt to the precautionary containment and safety measures adopted by the Department of Education: face mask for teachers and children, washing hands before starting lessons, social distancing".
The nun says: "Our students were delighted to be to school, ready to enter. An unreal silence accompanied the first two days of school. From the third day on, the reverent silence gave way to the laughter and the noisy joy of these children , who come from rural or forest areas, and have never listened to news on Covid or seen a face mask. In fact, most of the people who live in the villages remain isolated and it is not easy for them to understand the proportion and consequences of this pandemic".
The return to teaching was also a good opportunity for special science lessons: "We explained - she continues - with simplicity and clarity what bacteria and viruses are, the basic rules of hygiene and the most common diseases here in Papua. These issues that are so current in the world today, are even more so here in this country. The children were very interested and took notes. It was clear that some of them wanted to keep as much information as possible and then, in the evening around the fire, pass it on to their families. These children are the future of the country and we thank the Lord who gives us the opportunity to help them grow".
Even the students of adult schools had the opportunity to discuss how this crisis is teaching prudence and respect for rules, without sowing panic and fear. "Faith in God must be our strength", concludes Sister Giovanna. (GB/AP) (Agenzia Fides, 15/5/2020)