AMERICA/ECUADOR - COVID-19: for missionaries it is the "time to 'stay' and do 'acts of solidarity, even if with simple gestures"

Monday, 27 April 2020 coronavirus   missionaries   solidarity   faith   poverty  


Duràn (Agenzia Fides) - “Those who can afford to be at home and have the opportunity to go out to do shopping live a 'quarantine' which is certainly different from those who live in barracks, without basic services, with 10 people in a small space. Many times the choice to stay at home cannot be made, because if you do not go out to earn those few dollars you cannot feed the family". Thus begins the testimony, sent to Agenzia Fides, of Francesca and Alessandro, a couple of Italian volunteers, fidei donum missionaries in Ecuador since November 2018.
"We missionaries try to protect ourselves to the utmost, also because, like everyone, unfortunately we cannot trust the health system, practically non-existent, which is with great difficulty assisting Covid-positive patients", continues the couple who is part of the mission team of the fidei donum priests in Duràn. The communities we assist include the two parishes of San Francisco de Asis and Nuestra Señora del Perpetuo Socorro in addition to camp communities. We often talk to the parishioners, listen to them. It is nice to see how worried people are for us, however 'foreigners' in this land, and for our families in Italy", they underline.
"The priests of our team have organized themselves with the celebration of masses and other moments of online prayer, sharing food for thought for the parishioners, so as to make us all feel less 'abandoned'. We are in contact with the communities in the field by telephone, with whoever is possible, especially with community representatives. It was through these communications that they signaled their difficulties in finding food. They cannot even go fishing and without this economic income they cannot afford to go to the city to do a bit of shopping. As a mission team, we thought of organizing a 'food kit' consisting of the most common foods here such as plantain, rice, legumes, chicken. It was a really nice sign to receive donations from the parishioners themselves, who despite their difficulties, wanted to collaborate in helping after learning about the initiative.
To date, we have managed to respond to three of the five communities that we assist, with a total of 165 families, and we are organizing for the fourth, in addition to about fifty families from the parishes reached thanks to the help of the parish Caritas.
We are sharing not only the food, which will perhaps be enough for a few days/week, but above all we are making these people feel that someone is thinking about them and that behind those protective face masks, even if with different resources, we are all living the same thing.
We believe the time has come for us missionaries, not only to 'stay', but do 'acts of solidarity, even if with simple gestures". (FA/AP) (Agenzia Fides, 27/4/2020)