MISSION AD GENTES
On February 8 of this year, I went on mission to the community of Nzagi, in the province of Lunda-Norte as a request of the provincial council to accompany the two junior sisters, due to the absence of the coordinator for health reasons.
After all, where is the Nzagi community?
Nzagi is located 80 km from the city of Dundo, capital of the province of Lunda – Norte, in the east of the Republic of Angola. Here the communities are characterized by instability, as it is a diamond mining area, where the largest number of inhabitants are engaged in artisanal diamond mining.
There is a huge number of refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo, who see in this place a space that ensures better life conditions. Unfortunately, these are mostly illegals, who are often expatriated by the national police, resulting in frequent confrontation between both sides with expatriates returning to Angola after two weeks. This situation constitutes a pastoral challenge. In addition to this is, there is an emergence of sects in every corner, where Catholics have little capacity to respond to these sects, many of them extorting money from the people, as they inculcate in them the magical mentality.
My presence in the community coincided with the time of Lent and Easter. It was something very different… I felt very close to the Christian community! The Christian community is small because the natural inhabitants of the area are few and with a strong tradition of witchcraft, which leads us to admit that the first evangelization was not felt at all levels, which presupposes for us the sisters, a deep evangelizing work.
I was impressed by the group of Lay Missionary Dominicans of the Rosary, a group formed by the sisters in a very short time, since the community was installed in this place six years ago. They are all well integrated in the group, collaborate a lot with the sisters and are regular in their Christian commitments, being active and committed to the local Church. They meet in our house for formation and prayer once a month.
The parish, which has a large territorial extension, was divided in March, creating a new parish that will facilitate the pastoral work of the sisters.
The Easter triduum was a very deeply experienced by Christians, despite the health crisis with Covid 19. I was deeply shocked by the “very expensive” cost of living, especially the prices of agricultural products. It is for this reason that people do not spend their money on vegetables. For example, a carrot can cost the equivalent of 6 euros in the informal market.
On April 5th, I left Nzagi in a gratifying way, thanking God and the sisters of the provincial council for their proposal.
May Mary our Mother help us to be witnesses of the Risen Christ.
Maria de Jesus Valente