Yesterday morning I finally had some time to do something I had been looking forward to: visiting some of the projects run by the Catholic Church through "Caritas Swaziland".
The Catholic Church is a small community in the Kingdom of Swaziland (only 5% of the population) but it is amazing to see the number of projects we are able to do at the service of the poorest in the country. We normally do not talk much about them. We are too busy looking for funds and making sure we are able to finish what we start and that it is done properly. Then, of course, remembering what we read at the beginning of our Lenten Season (Mt 6) we want to make sure that we do not do our "good works before men, to be seen by them" but we make sure that everyone praise the Father for his love.
It was very "Providential" (with a capital "P"!) it happened yesterday. The Gospel presented to us the familiar parable of the rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31). The Carmelites commenting on it in their webpage (lectiodivina) spoke about Lazarus who: "represents the silent cry of the poor of the time of Jesus and of all times."
Pope Francis in his daily homily imagined the rich man in this way:
"When he went about town, we might imagine his car with tinted windows so as not [to be] seen from without – who knows – but definitely, yes, his soul, the eyes of his soul were darkened so that he could not see out." (Pope Francis)
So, for me, it was another opportunity to go and, without tinted windows, open my eyes and ears.
Yesterday we visited three of the four houses we are building for orphans. The project started some years' ago and by now, Caritas Swaziland has already built 23 two-room houses and with these four it will be 27.
On the way I was briefed on the process of selection: most of the beneficiaries are doubled orphans, the community is able to testify to their situation and the local chief guarantees it is their land and they will not be removed by any relative who will then claim the place.
The builders were trained by the diocese last year as part of another project to make sure we can count on them when private benefactors or international organisations make some money available for new houses.
It took us about 5 hours to do this trip. Partly because of the distance from Manzini but also because of the areas where the families live.
We are really grateful to all those who make this possible. It is real "team work". Some helping with the financial resources, others with identifying those most in need, others following all the details of the process... and others building!
Clicking below you would be able to see the place where they were staying and the ones they will be having soon.
Click HERE to see other photos