It’s a friendship day called COP’ MONDE (Catholic Action for Children) of the district of Vina as reported by some postulants (young ladies preparing for religious life) with the Filles de Jésus of the African province, involved in this movement.
Usually the African Children’s Day is celebrated on June 16 each year. This day was instituted by the Organization of African Union in 1990 to commemorate the death of hundreds of innocent children in 1976, at Soweto in Southern Africa, during a manifestation suppressed by the police. It is a reminder to all of children’s rights.
The team of organizers from our district of North Cameroon chose to anticipate the celebration of this day and to place it on a weekend so as to reinforce friendship ties among the children as well as to make known the movement. More than 150 children assembled from our parish, Karna/Mbé, from Ngaoundere 60 km away and even from Meiganga more than 250 km away.
On Saturday the 13th, in the afternoon, the children marched from the church to the college 2 km away. People gathered on the sides of the road to see all these children singing, dancing and playing. Attracted by the joyful atmosphere, some children of the village joined the gang. The day ended with a festive celebration during which each parish came forth with songs and dances to entertain the many adults, Christians and Moslems, without any distinction of religion.
Despite the fatigue of the previous day, the Sunday celebration of the Eucharist was well enlivened by the children who did the readings and sang in their different languages. They amazed the adults by their faith and the seriousness of their organization.An explanation was given on the origin of the African Children’s Day and the rights of the African child which are so often violated: no schooling, early pregnancies, forced marriages …
To feed 150 children was nothing easy! But the ladies of our parish, active and devoted mothers took that upon themselves. Everyone was treated to a delicious meal along with some juice. Solidarity is the rule! The children went to the near-by clinic and offered soap to the sick, many poorer than themselves.
Alas, it was hard to leave but each and every one returned to their parish hearts filled with joy.
Such a meeting could only be realized with the collaboration of all: children, the religious sisters, FJ. parishioners, country folks and the elite working elsewhere. With each one’s contribution, the celebration was a success.
This important moment was highlighted by the commitment and witnessing of a certain protestant elite who insisted on thanking the catholic mission – where our sisters were already working when he was at school – and for all he owed to them. And so he encouraged parents to take seriously the education of their children. His presence was an opening to ecumenism.
Véronique Tshiabu, postulante