Nairobi (Kenya). In Kenya, following the lifting of the lockdown for the Covid-19 pandemic, the Ministry of Health has provided the population with guidelines and measures to be taken to avoid contagion and the spread of the virus. The lockdown has had serious consequences for a large part of the population: the loss of jobs and the inability to pay rent and get food. Numerous people from inland villages flocked to the cities to try to resume activities by returning to ‘normal’.
An FMA postulant from the Blessed Laura Vicuña Community of Makuyu, says: “Many are happy with this ‘new normal’, even if it is not the same life as before Covid-19. They are happy with the reopening of the churches, despite the limitations. However, Christians do not sing and dance with the joy of before. Our country and the world will never be the same after this pandemic. Yet there is still reason to hope. We leave our future in God’s hands and allow His plan to unfold in our lives and in the world”.
Recognizing the importance of keeping values firm in order to build a future of hope together with people is the desire of Sister Mary Owuoth, FMA of the Auxilium Community of Nairobi: “We cannot return to normal life or do the things we used to do . A change of mentality is needed, a new way of thinking, doing, and acting. We cannot stand still. Life goes on. You need to have creativity and give life to a ‘culture’ that strengthens the roots. It is important to safeguard our values, to remain firm and not let the Coronavirus be an obstacle to social relations and mutual solidarity”.
In the parish of North Horr (Marsabit), where the FMA of Jesus Good Shepherd Community work, when the church was reopened, it was like being reborn, so says Sister Eusebia Munene: “During the lockdown, Christians continued to hope. The parish priest and the pastoral council explained to the parishioners the sanitary measures in the local language, Kiborana. The young volunteers made sure that the rules were applied: hand sanitization, temperature measurement, spacing on the benches, masks, disinfection of the church. In North Horr there is still no real perception of the effects of Covid-19; it is thought that the virus cannot arrive because it is an arid and hot place. However, when you go to church the rules are respected. We hope that over time they will get used to this new normal”.
Sister Geraldine Reakes of the Saint Joseph Community of Nairobi thinks that this time of crisis is a challenge for the Salesian Family: “Let us be deeply shaken by what is happening around us and recognize ourselves as part of one family and support each other, reads the book by Pope Francis ‘Life after the pandemic’. It made me reflect a lot on the Salesian Family, a tree that has many branches with a great variety, united by the Salesian charism, with many resources to help make Pope Francis’ dream for the future come true. Many families are disoriented and young people and people feel the purpose of life is missing. As the Salesian Family, we feel the responsibility to respond concretely to Pope Francis’ call for greater solidarity in the formation of good Christians and honest citizens”.