The Shanty Town

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Our priory is only 5 metres away from the slum of Kawangware. The first shops are just behind along the wall. We share somehow the same rhythm, the reality of poverty and human misery, and also a swelling of life, the incomparable smile of the children who find their happiness in playing simple games together.

Most of the pupils of our school live in this shanty town. But only 10% of them come to Mass on Sunday: we still have much work on our plate! Protestant churches are very active in this kind of slums. Some self-styled pastors pretend they have a certain power because they read Bible. But in fact, they are just imposters who take advantage of people’s misery and credulity.

Our role is to spread the supernatural gifts of Faith and Grace to those people and to lead them to a religious practice. The poverty and insanity in which they live is far beyond our capacity of helping them. Our concern is mainly religious and moral: how to live a virtuous life in such a misery. Our role is to raise their souls to God, to chase away the vices, to spread the recourse of Grace and the light of Faith.

Every Saturday, the children are invited to attend the 11am Mass. Then they are offered a lunch. At 1pm, they receive extra-school tuitions. At 2pm, they receive a lesson of catechism. At 3pm, the boys practice their altar service, while the girls are taken care of by the sisters until 4pm. Every Saturday is devoted to the children from 11am to 4pm.

Then, from 4pm to 6pm, the teenagers and students of the parish receive teachings on Christian Doctrine. Then have a holy hour of adoration or a Gregorian chant practice. Several catechists assist the priests and sisters, who are mainly Europeans and are not fluent at all in Swahili!

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