I still remember the strain of having to collect the sand at the river, under a hot sun and a disruptive humidity. But the satisfaction of seeing small smiles at our return to the mission, has no price.
The welcome smile, touching land in Togo, accompanied me over two weeks and remained in my heart once home. The joy of peoples living poorly but full of dignity.
I want to start like this, my story about Togo, but overall about those people, helping me to live a fantastic experience in Africa. And it’s right about mission, that I would like to spend two words, about the many missionaries I have met, who have welcomed me, who have helped me to face the differences of a strange country in a less traumatically way. I would like to thank them all, for the testimonial of life they are, for their courage, for their ability to love, for their way to talk to people, as if talking to their own children. Their enthusiasm despite the diseases, the incomprehension and sometimes the bad experiences of feeling used.
The faces of those people, have a name: Suor Patrizia, a strong and energetic sister. A worker at God’s service. Maristella, with her niceness and elegance, always ready to help her next, onto the physical breakdown. Federica, with whom I have bonded most, a look was enough to understand each other immediately… Bortolo, a real gentleman. Here and then he leaves Brescia, in order to go help the poor in Africa, land which he adores and profoundly respects.
And then there is me, I who simply have helped building a school in Amakpape. I still remember the strain of having to collect the sand at the river, under a hot sun and a disruptive humidity. But the satisfaction of seeing small smiles at our return to the mission, has no price. My days there where passing quick like a storm, characterized by hard work, broken only by collecting some tool for the building lot. The moment I always love to remember though, are Sundays. All together we went back at the main mission house in Lomè. Spirituality was at the centre in those moments, the sung messes, nearly shouted and danced, are a treasure which I will always carry in my heart.
by Paolo Baraldi