The Daughters of Jesus in community in Daoukro, Ivory Coast, run a hostel for 16 young girls, high school students from 6th to 12th grade. They share their experiences with us.
A demanding life
Life in the hostel is a whole new experience for many of the girls and presents them with difficulties and challenges :
- Separation from their parents
- Living with other young people they don’t know
- Learning how to tidy their clothes and make their bed
- Preparing meals and managing money
- Following the instructions we give them.
This is all new for some of them.
Support and encouragement
All of these young people acknowledge the good reception they receive. They discover that we listen to them, encourage them, give them advice to make things easier between them … not going to bed still angry with someone, not cheating at school. We also help them with buying books, schooling, sometimes with food and as far as we can for evening study.
It has been a great joy for one girl who has learned to read since she has been at the hostel. Another didn’t want to go to school because of her bad grades. Supported by us and her companions, she has found the courage to continue.
Some, who come from the villages, are used to speaking Baoulé, the local language, and didn’t dare speak French. Now they recognize that they are no longer afraid and even some of the shy ones manage to speak in public.
On the occasion of Father Joseph’s ten years of priesthood, these young girls danced at the celebration in his honour. They received many congratulations from the parishioners. What an encouragement! Father Joseph was very touched by their gesture. When people speak of the girls, they say,
“They are the daughters of the Sisters.”
Getting to know the Sisters
Twice a week, they come to pray with us in the evenings. Little by little, they learn to pray and to sing. As a prepare for the Congregation feast day which we celebrated on the evening of November 24, Nadège taught them several songs, including the Congregation song. During the celebration, explanations were given to them so that they could understand.
Here are some of their reflections :
“I liked :
- the attitude of the founder who formed people to help him.
- the charism and the spirituality – born from the fire of charity.
- how they helped the poor and the orphans.
- the seed thrown into the ground that yielded fruit.”
The celebration was followed by a meal which we all ate together. This evening, lived with all of us, was a great opportunity to better get to know better and appreciate each other :
“I feel at ease, with you, as if I were with my parents.”
“It’s a grace to be at the hostel, I feel like I’m in heaven.”
For us it is one of the ways we live out our apostolic community project :
“To be close to each person
by creating opportunities
for meeting and sharing.”
Srs Marie-Thérèse Rétho et Nadège Tetee fj