Gizo (Solomon Islands). The young people, children, and catechists of the mission of Gizo, in the Solomon Islands, of Mary Help of Christians Province of the Pacific Region (SPR), express closeness to Italy during the Coronavirus emergency, with prayer and a message of hope.
Sister Anna Maria Gervasoni, Daughter of Mary Help of Christians, missionary from Lombardy, relates the origin of the initiative:
“Here in the Solomon Islands there are not many Italians: only myself and the Bishop Msgr. Luciano Capelli, Salesian of Don Bosco, called the ‘flying bishop’, and often some friends of the bishop who come to lend a hand for the animation of the oratory and other assistance. This is why everyone knows Italy and sends a greeting: ‘Courage everything will be fine!’ When I explained the Italian situation and the meaning of the poster and the message to the children, young people, and students, they all joined in with joy and were happy to have the opportunity to send encouragement to the friends in Italy. Here in Gizo for now there are no cases of Coronavirus, however the government is already training the nation’s medical and paramedical staff; also in the parishes they are giving instructions to the faithful regarding precautions to be taken as of now. Here we hope that the virus does not arrive, because we have no facilities, except aid from neighboring Australia.”
The Solomon Islands are made up of around 900 islands and many ethnic groups, with different languages and physiognomies. In Gizo, the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians direct the Technical School of the Diocese (Urban Training Center) with about 70 students, and teach in the Primary School in a slum in Gizo. They also coordinate catechesis for about fifty children and the spiritual formation of a group of about 30 young people.
Gizo is the capital of the Western Province, and is the second largest city after Honiara. Most of the inhabitants are not natives of the place, they live there for work and study. During the summer holidays, the city empties almost completely, to repopulate itself with the opening of the social and school year in February.
The Diocese of Gizo is very extensive and you need to use a speedboat to get around. The population lives on fishing and agriculture, and is dispersed in the many islands, so it is difficult to guarantee school education for everyone.