Dear friends, At lastthe so long awaited news about the reopening of schools was heard. 14th April was the day chosen by the Government to open the gates of all the schools. Thenews passed from mouth to mouth like the fire that spreads on the dry grass..“Mamma Salone” after nine months of suffering, was giving birth once more tochildren painfully purified but eager to start afresh. As Jesus preparedhimself in the desert, the country was asked once more, to offer three days offasting and prayer in preparation to the last step in the fight against ebola.Her children, the future of the country would be placed in the forefront in anattempt to satisfy the desire of going back to school.Today weended the first week. Hope was all that reigned in the atmosphere!!
Happily andwith immense gratitude towards God that looks after his own, we saw once morethe streets of Lunsar being filled with students dressed in their colourfuluniforms going to school. Our gates opened once more to receive the little oneswearing their pink uniforms, the girls and adolescents dressed in blue and winecolour, as well as the not so young female students walking with a smile ontheir faces towards the vocational centre.
There was in all of us a mixture offeelings. On one hand the joy of filling once more the empty classrooms and onthe other the fear that among so many one would be infected.Few daysearlier, the Government, together with the Ministry of Education, young peoplefrom different localities, students, volunteers, etc joined forces to clean oneschool after the other.
..Life has come back!! Boys and girls with hoes,shovels, brooms, and a load of optimism entered our schools to cut the grass,sweep, dust, carried tables and chairs from one class to another.. an intenseforce bound us together.!! OnMonday 13th, the day before the reopening, the teachers werepracticing the use of the thermometers, the washing of hands, the securitymeasures to be used in case a student presents symptoms of ebola. All with asmile, determined to accept the challenge ahead of us. On Tuesday 14th littleby little the streets were filled with students. Some peeped behind the housesto make sure they were not the only ones coming to school; other crossed thegate walking shyly and closing their eyes while feeling the thermometer closeto their foreheads. Yes, even though the taken of the temperature and thewashing of hands have been the usual procedure in many public places, this timeit was the pass to a new stage.Day afterday the number of students increased. On Friday 60% of the student populationattended classes. It has not been easy.. Friends that had not seen each otherfor a long time and naturally hugged themselves would hear the voice of theadult at their back “don’t touch”; or the little ones playing together andsharing the water from the same bottle being corrected “don’t share”.
The taskahead is a difficult one. It is to walk along constantly reminding those whouse to express their closeness by touching, that they can become a weapon tothe other. It is to walk close to those that lost parents, brothers and sisterswhose eyes reflect the sadness and emptiness of life that there is a God who isa Father and who watches over us with love and providence.On behalfof each and everyone I want to say THANK YOU for having walked with us like theCirene during all these months. For having offered sacrifices for us to haveenough food and clothes to wear.; For having prayed for us to havethe strength to go through the tunnel. For all you did in the silence of yourheart. Mary that covers us with her mantle be for you all the loving Motherthat guides you to eternity.
Sr. Elisa Padilla, m.c.