Ebola is over, CTF departs Sierra Leone

IMG_0196MAKENI – After 14 months of special mission in the Diocese of Makeni, the CTF team has departed Sierra Leone. It was a mission accomplished. Since September 2014, when Ebola cases showed an exponential growth of an average of 10 lab-confirmed cases every day, the CTF has been closely monitoring the situation and began to establish contact with the Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Makeni. In October 2014, the CTF assessment team departed to Sierra Leone and since then it has sent 12 foreign missionaries (volunteers) to the Diocese of Makeni. Just like the apostles, they were sent to Sierra Leone in pair. It is good to remember also that the first CTF team arrived in Sierra Leone on the day of the celebration of the World Mission Sunday 2014. For one year, the CTF has sustained its efforts in strengthening health care facilities, mobilization of communities and building psychosocial and pastoral support in the most affected and vulnerable communities. The program has served 400 family survivors, 1 hospital and 6 primary healthcare units (PHUs) in the said Diocese. The CTF team has formed 25 local collaborators called the Community-Based Psychosocial Facilitators (CBPSF) who were trained in psychosocial-pastoral counseling assisting the survivor families in the 18 parishes and 2 catholic health and education institutions provided by the Centro de Humanizacion de la Salud, Spain and the St. Camillus Pastoral Center, Nairobi.

The World Health Organization has declared for the second time on November 7, 2015 the end of the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone. The declaration was welcomed with much celebration after more than a year of mourning over the 3.951 Saloneans who died of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) and tens of thousands who had been infected. While towards the middle of this year, several international organizations had deserted Sierra Leone, the CTF has remained until December 6 the formal closure of the project. All the ten missionaries, the members of the grand family of St. Camillus (Lay Camillian Family of Ireland and Spain, Camillian Sisters of Kenya and the Philippines and the Camillian fathers and brothers from Italy, India, Kenya and the Philippines) came home with great joy for the opportunity to participate in the great “festivals of charity”. Their names are worth mentioning for their courage and enthusiasm to enliven the thirst of St. didith2Camillus for the “festivals of charity” and to promote his school of charity. They are Ms. Anita Ennis (LCF, Ireland), Mrs. Consuelo Santamaria (LCF Spain), Fr. Antony Kunnel and Br. Madhu Valle (India), Br. Luca Perletti (Italy), Mr. Marco Iazzolino (Italy), Br. Bonaventure Muswi and Fr. John Mosoti (Kenya), Sr. Benta Odundo (Kenya), Sr. Didith Otibar (Philippines), Fr. Sam Cuarto and Fr. Johnjay Magpusao (Philippines).

Much joy and appreciation were expressed by the family survivors and the CBPSF. Mr. Kadi, one of the beneficiaries from the Christ the King parish of Binkolo said, “We are happy. We found a new family (referring to his group counseling group). No other NGO who had helped us except the CTF. The facilitator taught us to forgive and to love even to those who stigmatized us. I learned more about love, the way the Camillians are doing, the love that moves people to care for one another.” Fr. Peter of Masiaka said: “I was following closely the project of the CTF as well as others who have been doing the same program. However, the big difference among these projects is that the CTF was able to address the material, financial and psycho-emotional needs of the survivors. Much more, because the Camillians themselves were present from the beginning up to the last day of the project.” Eighty per cent of the beneficiaries are Muslims. One of them from Makeni said: “I am happy to see you Christians. You have sympathy for human beings and supporting us with our fundamental and human needs. You have helped a lot and we look forward and pray for your success.” Many more appreciations and prayer that the CTF received as confirmed by Fr. Aris who just came back from Sierra Leone after doing an evaluation of the project.