AFRICA/LIBERIA - “I would die for Liberia” says Philippine missionary sister in love with the country and the people

Friday, 24 February 2006

Monrovia (Fides Service) - “I would die for Liberia and its people, they have a wonderful way of greeting strangers. A handshake and a click of the fingers mean you are welcome! A series of hellos with a smile made the first night in Monrovia one of my warmest memories” Sr Gloria Carmen Eamiguel a Franciscan Missionary of Mary FMM from the Philippines on mission for the past two years in Liberia.
Sr Gloria went on mission to Liberia with Sr Alice Gill FFM from Pakistan to work in a camp for internally displaced persons run by the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS). Sr Gloria has this to say about her experience: “On the first day seeing the sub-human conditions of our internally displaced brothers and sisters, camped inside small huts with tarpaulin roofing I forgot all my petty aches and pains. Caught in a situation of helplessness and powerlessness, the children, youth adult men and women could still smile as they waved their hands to welcome us. Our visit to the camp helped me discover the resourcefulness and ingenuity of the refugees. Struggling to make ends meet they were able to start socio-economic projects like carpentry, sewing, soap-making, baking and other forms of livelihood projects. Converting refrigerators into ovens for baking bread is incredible. Never in my life had I seen such a thing!
What I saw in the camps was given even more meaning when the JRS team assigned to Liberia and Guinea met for a retreat. Using as a references the Bible and the book Everybody’s Challenge FR Christof sj led us into a deeper understanding of our commitment to serve our displaced brothers and sisters. Now that the war is over the people of Tappita who had been refugees in other countries have come back to this beautiful place. Like other Liberians in the different countries they have started rebuilding their country. To help them we conduct meetings and assemblies with various groups of men, women, children and youth to formulate vision-mission-goals and focus on the priority needs identified by the people themselves”. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 24/2/2006 righe 31 parole 376)