(ANS - Tappita) - The Salesian mission at Tappita, in the Liberian forest, is now re-establishing itself again after years of forced expulsion: it was founded by the Salesians before the civil war in Liberia (1989-1997), but was then handed over to the local clergy for the impossibility of communications and lack of personnel. In this phase of re-awakening, it needs everything: from small things, like a whistle to referee the games of the oratory or the catechetical animation material, to the most demanding, such as reactivating the school, creating the youth center ... It is a reality where the pioneering spirit of the mission ferments every activity of education, social development and evangelization.
The three Salesians who have taken over the mission have given themselves a few months to take stock of the situation, understand the challenges and draft an action plan. They currently live in the house that belonged to the Consolata Sisters until they too had to leave due to the war. In the last 20 years the structure has been used in part by the priest who visited the mission from time to time and then permanently, but its deterioration was progressive and fast.
For Christmas activities, the community had decided to adopt the "do as it has always been done" method to see and learn from the situation. And despite the challenges of the reality of Tappita – rationed electricity and water supply, sketchy communication routes, linguistic difficulties with the local population - the religious have begun to shape pastoral activities.
In January, all the parish groups met: Pastoral Council, Economic Commission, Men, Women, Young People, altar boys, Chorus, and various Associations ... "Every evening, from 5 pm onwards, we 'listened'," explained Fr Riccardo Castellino, SDB.
The parish also has 24 mission stations in the villages. The Salesians have decided to visit them all: so every Sunday one of them stays in the parish and the other two reach two neighboring villages.
The local people are simple, poor. They live on agriculture, and though they do not lack food, they have no money to spend. All the communities, with the little they have, have built or are building a little church of mud and sheet metal.
"There is a lot of work to do and this involves a great deal of energy and material resources. But they too are children of God and deserve our full attention!," concludes Fr Castellino.