Catholic Medical Quarterly Volume 71(2) May 2021


From our Comboni missionary friends in Ethiopia

Comboni Missionary Sisters
P.O. Box 61
Beneshangul Gumuz Ethiopia


Picture with permission from the Comboni Missionaries South Sudan Website

I am writing to you from Bergamo Italy - 3 January 2021

The sun continues to shine. Ethiopia is called the land of 13 months of sun; because the sun totally shines in the hospitality of the people, who makes all who come in contact with them, feel at home after a short experience.

Benishangul  Gumuz is one of the 10 Regions of the Nation, and our community of Mandura is located in this place. Recently, our exchange of services started in peace, attending and learning from one another. Now due to tribal clashes for land possession, social stability has worsened, many have died and villages completely burned. This year's crops were stolen by opportunists or burned by soldiers while many have been put in prison without knowing the reason, especially the men and the elders of the villages.

Our clinic is closed for fear of the insecurity of the workers who are not originally from the area. The schools have also stopped receiving students for fear that the students will be kidnapped by the rebels and the teachers may be attacked. In our mission some women and children asked for protection for a few days, then the situation worsened and they too decided to escape to the mountains, since our mission was also left without the protection of the guardians.

Three weeks have passed since the strongest fighting stopped.  This made families slowly to return to their homes though the majorities are still in remote villages far from the main road. Together with them we experience pain, insecurity and God's protection. In the midst of all this darkness, our community feels that the sun continues to shine, as we have all decided to make common cause with the people of the area, sharing the bad moments as well as the good ones. We have dedicated more time to prayer and our faith has been strengthened when we have completely abandoned ourselves in the hands of God. We have had time to be closer to each other and to reflect, because if life is precious and time also passes, it must be valued by looking for new alternatives to continue with our apostolates and our presence among this people.

Seeing people suffer when they escape, when they mourn their loved ones or suffer because their husbands or children have been put in prison, or for many other reasons, has become a time of grace that helps us to understand the importance to leave behind what does not give life. As disciples of Jesus and daughters of the Comboni, we are realizing that to live, not so many things are necessary. The important thing is to share joy and suffering, being in solidarity, taking interest in the other, making them feel that we want to be here with them and accompany them in this situation. Pray for our community to be able to make common cause with the people of this place and defend justice.

I am returning to Ethiopia on the 7th of January, Ethiopian Christmas day. Please pray for me and my community.

Sr Nives Battaglia