We held a day of reflection and sharing on the theme of encounter and dialogue which volunteers and staff together with three Country Reps (CR):
- Dominic Carroll – CR for Bangladesh and Afghanistan based in London,
- Kayode Akintola – CR for Sierra Leone and Liberia based in Freetown
- Conor Molloy – CR for Ethiopia based in Addis Ababa.
It was a great opportunity to share stories and experiences and learning about our partners and their communities.
Susy Brouard from theology facilitated the day and we started off with reflecting on the gospel passage and paintings of the anointing of the Jesus’ feet. Our three CRs were then invited to share stories
Kayode mentioned how difficult it was for him to return to Sierra Leone with his family when the Ebola crisis happened. What changed his mind was the local people saying to him “are you going to abandon us too?” as most people had. He was moved to return and help them.
Conor explained how CAFOD’s work was not only dealing with the drought in Ethiopia but also very much involved in dialogue with the tribes who were fighting each other in the south – peace building. He also spoke of spoke of capacity building there.
It was also really good to hear how, due to the support from charities like CAFOD, the number of deaths due to drought in Ethiopia has fallen significantly over the years, from over 1 million in 1984 to about 23 in 2010. Droughts still exist but due to capacity building and disaster risk reduction techniques mortality rates have fallen significantly!
Dominic was thrilled to informed the group that caritas Bangladesh had recently been invited to be a member of the START network with CAFOD’s support as CAFOD is a member. This means that they can now go directly and access funds from donors without going via CAFOD hence empowering them! Fabulous!
We shared our stories in groups and after a shared lunch all three CRs shared more of their very interesting stories after we had reflection on the Gospel story of the Canaanite woman.
Rose Bluett (Volunteer coordinator for Luton) and Cath Palsz (Parish volunteer – Our Lady of Peace Burnham) who were present said they felt it was a very interesting and worthwhile day with a lot of food for thought.