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An update from Fr David Cullen MAfr (WF) Fr David Cullen
P.O. BOX 511154 CHIPATA Zambia
AMAP update from Mike Ellis & John Joyce Mike Ellis
January 2019 AMAP update from Fr. Alick Mwamba from Mali Mike Ellis
December 2018 Please, help Felicity find her father's grave. Felicity Jones
An AMAP update from Mike Ellis Mike Ellis
An AMAP update from Mike Ellis Mike Ellis
Water Buckets to halt the spread of Ebola
An appeal by the Rotary clubs of Guillford, UK

Mike Ellis

Street Child Africa — and across the world.
Fr Patrick Shanahan
speaks to the United Nations in Geneva on The Rights of the Child
Eric Creaney
The Africa Medical Aid (AMAP)
Rport No. 2 from Mike Ellis and John Joyce

Mike Ellis
John Joyce

A Christmas Letter
from Fr Michael Targett

Fr Michael Targett

October 2013
Report on Africa Medical Aid Project (AMAP)

Mike Ellis
John Joyce

January 2013
The Pelican Project by Fr Terry Madden MAfr Fr Madden
January 2013
The Africa Medical Aid (AMAP): an update from
FrPère Zacharie SORGHO, M.Afr

Mike Ellis
John Joyce

A letter from Fr Zacharie Sorgho in Mali Maurice

A musical fundraiser from Michael Gallagher and Rosie McArt. Michael Gallagher
'StreetInvest', supporting street children

(StreetInvest is an independent Charity and not part of The White Fathers, Missionaries of Africa).
Fr Patrick Shanahan
'Streets Ahead' initiave could fold without your help!

(Streets Ahead is not part of The White Fathers, Missionaries of Africa).
Fr Patrick Shanahan
Street Child Africa Fr Pat Shanahan via Eric Creaney

An update from Fr Dave Cullen MAfr (WF)

From: David Cullen: davidcullen@gmail.com

Dear Pelicans,


When I saw the amount I had two days ago it must have been because of your donation. Many thanks indeed.

This afternoon I had a phone call from my great helper, Patricia, a member of the local St Vincent de Paul Society, telling that there are 3 emergencies that can’t wait, 2 families threatened with expulsion from their homes because of non-payment of rent, Thokozile, who is a widow with 5 children, and Maggie, whose husband ran away some time ago, and she cares for 6 children. She also needed medicine. They needed about £27 each. Then there was an elderly woman called Mwanida, sleeping at the bus station with 5 grandchildren. She came to Chipata to see her daughter but the daughter died and the landlord pushed her out of the house for non-payment of about £40, and this is the cold season. I need quite a few jerseys in the morning and plenty of blankets at night. Then there were two very sick people who needed medicine, Mercy, a granny with 8 grandchildren in her care, short of about £20; as too Lydia, a woman who is HIV positive and she needed £20 for medicine and rent.

I also had a visit from Liya, the mother of a very strong Catholic family I’m helping to set up a small stall for selling the things people can afford to buy in small quantities, sugar, soap, mealie meal, etc. She has to pay the Council about £25 for permission to do so and I will have to help buy the goods to sell. She says she wants that to be a loan and to pay something back every month.  Her husband is a capable gardener, but jobs are so difficult to find. In the small plot they have he produced maize and sweet potatoes and they brought a gift of some to us today. I had to help her son, Emmanuel, with a dictionary the other day and he needs a new pair of shoes to be allowed back into school, probably about £10. This afternoon I’ve also had to help Naomi, a single mother with I think 4 children. She has a job as a maid. They work, often for five and half days a week and get paid about £20 a week, far less than the minimum wage. I tell these maids that they should complain at the labour office, but of course it would mean losing their job and they seem to think a quarter of a loaf is better than none. I had to help Naomi with something for medicine and rent, about £15.

 Apart from these kind of  emergencies, we have to try to help student nurses and those from very poor families who are at TTCs and it’s money like yours which makes this possible. Just this week we had to help Teresa, blind from birth, yet determined to do something with her life. Having got through primary and secondary school, she is now at a college in Livingstone, studying to be a secondary school teacher. We had to pay about £245 for her fees. We also had to help Francis, a former WF student, who is at a TTC in Ndola, with a similar amount. We had to plead with Principals not to send them away as we would eventually pay their fees. Fortunately, they listened to us and you have made it possible for us to fulfil our commitment. The two students are surely most grateful for what you have done.

Whilst we probably will make Teresa an exception, we do ask the students we help to make a pledge that, once they have a good job, they gradually return what we have invested in them to enable us to do the same for others who will be in the position they are today. They do, of course, have to help their families first, but some do respond, though others need a bit of reminding!

So, you see what all the good your donation has been able to do and will still be able to do. On Monday, as every Monday and Thursday morning, I will be at the office in the hospital where I am one of the chaplains and I know we shall have a good number of other emergencies, especially to help patients and their carers who have been discharged and have no money to pay the bus fare home, having been brought from some distant rural hospital by ambulance, but, of course, the ambulance won’t take them home. if we don’t manage to help it may mean their sleeping at the bus station, trying to find what they call here ‘piecework’, usually washing the clothes of a family for a bit more than £1.20.

We try also to help prostitutes get off the streets. All of those we’ve helped, about 20 so far, went to the streets because of poverty, sometimes school girls who have no money for the fees. For instance, we had to help Maureen, a grandmother with 11 grandchildren in her care, 3 of whom had turned to prostitution to enable the family to survive. We pay those fees in such cases, but for others no longer at school, we try to give them something to start a mini-business and beg them to come back to us in a time of crisis rather than return to the streets. Most of them are HIV positive, at least those who have been there for a longer time. Fortunately, I don’t think those girls were.

By the way, I received the call from Patricia after returning from the other WF apostolic community we have here in Chipata called the Lavigerie Formation Centre. Today we celebrated a Mass for the graduation of 16 young men from the South African Province, Malawi, Zambia, Mozambique and South Africa, who completed the nine months initiation course that is given for all those who think they have a vocation with us. We had a lively ceremony with quite a lot of local people coming in, the choir from the local parish amongst others. We here in our community help a bit by being available as spiritual directors. All sixteen have been recommended for beginning the full formation course for the priesthood.

So, you see that the White Fathers are far from extinction!

You see too from above what good your donation has done and can still do. The Lord must be delighted with the way you share his compassionate concern for the neediest in our midst. I will certainly ask him to bless you and all those in your heart and may you keep us here in your prayers.

Very sincerely,

Fr David


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A Christmas Letter
from Fr Michael Targett MAfr (WF)


December 2013

Dear Friends

I am back on my computer hoping for inspiration to write a Christmas letter before it is too late and it becomes a New Year letter! I have been waiting both for inspiration and for leisure to write. So having just finished a seven day Intro to the New Testament given to over 40 novices and postulants, and having met this afternoon with the two retreatants I am accompanying at present, I decided just to sit down and start typing. Usually, when I start to put something down on paper, more comes up. So we will see what happens this time.

This time last year I was in London, recuperating from my hip replacement and enjoying the benefits of the big city. Even some snow. One evening as I looked out of my bedroom window, I saw a fox (urban breed) slinking around on the snow-sprinkled lawn of the garden at our M. Afr. house in Ealing. The last time I had seen one was when staying on home leave years ago with my sister in the countryside near Totnes in Devon. A very different setting. No foxes around here in Kumasi, though we have a variety of other types of wild life. Not much that is edible, like the antelopes we occasionally saw in the 1980s – everything edible has been hunted down and eaten by now, or its habitat has become a new suburb of Kumasi. In those days, we had to make a fire-break round the property when the dry season was approaching so that the bush fires started by farmers around us to clear their farms would not spread into our citrus and oil palm plantations. Now we are surrounded by houses. No risk of bush fires.

Last year was mainly The Year of Patient Waiting – for the hip operation. This year has been The Year of Grateful Relief. I can stand up without wincing, go up steps without tensing for the pain, move around much more freely. A great blessing. Just recently, I went for the one-year- after X-ray and the consultant at the Kumasi teaching Hospital said all looks O.K. Actually, he comes regularly to the Centre with his family on Sundays for the Eucharist. We have quite a little community of people who take part in the Sunday Eucharist. Some because it is in English. Others because the service only lasts just over an hour! While in the parishes, it may last over two hours! However, I also hope they come because the services are prayerful, with nourishing homilies.

The major event of the year was the celebration in June of the 40th Anniversary of the Centre. It was a truly great occasion. The function took place on the grass ( I cannot call it “lawn” as most of it is weeds) in front of the house. We erected several canopies where people could sit, but much of the space was in the shade provided by the spreading branches of the trees I had planted 30 years or so ago.

It gave me quite a surprise to realize that I had been here at the Centre for 30 out of those 40 years.

We were delighted that one of the Founding Members, Fr. Ernst Sievers M. Afr., was able to be present, as well as some of the former staff members. The Eucharist was presided over by the present Archbishop of Kumasi, Gabriel Justice Anokye, and the homily was given by Archbishop Emeritus Peter Sarpong, who was Bishop of the Diocese when the Centre came into being. In his homily, he expressed deep appreciation for the contribution the Centre has made over the years to the local Church and the Church in Ghana. He has always shown great support for the Centre, support which we have valued highly.

The second part of the function was a Fund-Raising. I outlined some of our pressing needs. The major one was to re-roof some of the buildings. We have been plagued since the start with leaks, that result in dark patches on the soft-board ceilings. We have tried various materials to block the holes, and there must be over 50 bowls above the ceilings to catch the drops. … However, the rains can be so torrential and the winds so powerful that the rain gets blown through the slightest hole. I should have explained that our roofs are corrugated aluminium sheets that have to be nailed on to the purlins. And nail holes easily become enlarged. Thanks to the generosity of many people, we have already bought a new type of roofing sheet that has no nail holes exposed to the rain. The dry season seemed to have arrived and so yesterday I arranged with the contractor to start the work this coming week. Today it rained heavily….Why does that sort of thing keep on happening?? So now I am praying to God to please hold off the rain for a week till the re-roofing is finished!

Fan into flame the gift of God that you possess.” (2 Timothy 1,6) That was the theme of our celebration. It is the grace I ask the Lord to give you at Christmas and in the New Year: to be aware of the ways you have been gifted and graced by God, to “fan them into flame” and draw energy from them, and to use them in your particular circumstances of life to spread the peace, the pardon, the reconciliation, the justice, the hope and encouragement Christ brings us.

I wish you a blessed and joyful Christmas and New Year.

Fr Michael MAfr

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Fr Terry Madden MAfr

(source: The White Fathers' Magazine, January 13th 2013)

This year the Ouagadougou Pelican Study Centre celebrates its 20th anniversary. This means twenty years of serving the youth of Ouagadougou by offering a secure environment for study, a library and remedial classes for those who have failed their school exams.

The Missionaries of Africa have always believed that education is one of the essential means of helping people lift themselves out of poverty and its destructive consequences. Here in Burkina Faso they were the prime movers in the education of youth until the government stepped in and took over all the mission schools in 1968. The current Prime Minister and many Ministers in government and leaders in the country were educated in Catholic schools.

Fr. Edouard Duclos MAfr
(left), in Bobo Dioulasso in 1992, was asked to come to Ouagadougou and set up a centre for study, including a library. Most of the city's schools did not have a library. Few of them had a place where the pupils could stay after school or at weekends to study and read. The Missionaries of Africa were keen to play their part in alleviating this situation.

The study centre would need to have electricity to light up the area at night; something the young people did not have at home. Many of them gathered around any public lighting that was available at the time, but these places left them vulnerable to thieves and violent men. As a result, the study centre would also offer them a secure and peaceful place to work.

Very soon after opening the first centre, Fr. Edouard realized that many of the people who used the centre were those who had failed their exams at school, either the BEPC, after 4 years of secondary school, or the baccalaureate, at the end of seconday school. Many of them would ask him to find them tutors who could help them study and prepare re-sitting their exams. Therefore, Fr. Edouard asked some students he knew at the university to come and give tutorials to the pupils.
This was the beginning of the Pelican Study Centre.

Since Fr. Edouard retired back to France in 2006, two other Missionaries of Africa replaced him: Fr. Toni Weideleiner, a German, for two and a half years, then Fr. Felix Sompougdou, a Burkinabe, for a year. When Fr. Felix was appointed to Bamako to work in the Centre for Christian - Muslim Dialogue, it fell upon me to look after the Pelican, on top of my "day job" as Director of Vocations. As my office is in the Pelican courtyard, it was an easy move, even if it did add a lot of work to my already busy schedule.

Fr. Terry Madden. MAfr

Thankfully,another confrére was willing to work with me; Fr. Alain Fontaine, a Frenchman, who is also the Provincial Secretary and lives in the Provincial House on the other side of our wall. He looks after all the financial administration of our work. His help takes a load off my shoulders.

During Fr. Toni's time, we were able to modernise the facilities, with the help of the Society of Missionaries of Africa. We built a two-storey building. On the ground floor, we have three classrooms, two for teaching and one to use as a computer room. On the first floor, we have a large classroom and a dormitory with two smaller bedrooms. This floor is essentially the Centre to welcome our vocations candidates, but the pupils of the Pelican can use the classroom during the week.

Donors giving blood at the Pelicanz   (left)

Over the past few years, we have also invested enormously in the library and the study area. The study area was covered to give shade and protection from the wind. The library was re-stocked with school books, African literature and novels. The Missionaries of Africa in the USA, the Friends of the Missionaries of Africa in France, the Diocese of Cologne in Germany and many individual supporters have all been instrumental in this progress and the improvement of our facilities. Without their financial support, we could not have achieved our current situation.

In this 20th anniversary year, we have enrolled 195 pupils: 114 girls and 81 boys. Of these, there are 99 Catholics , 9 Protestants and 87 Muslims. I quote these figures because they indicate an important aspect of our work. Unfortunately, due to the traditional way of thinking in most families, boys are favoured over girls when it comes to spending on education. If a family cannot afford to send all the children, preference is given to the boys, as it is hoped that they will be able to contribute later on to supporting the family. The girls are destined to be married and will leave home and become part of their husband's families. This is one of the main reasons that more girls than boys come to our centre.

Another important aspect of this project is dialogue between the principal faiths. Even if the Centre is a project of the Catholic Church, about half the pupils are not Catholic. For many of the Muslims and Protestants, it is their first experience of close contact with Catholics. This experience will help us break down the prejudices, which often colour our relationships and even divide us. Too many problems in the African world today are given the slant of a Christian-Muslim conflict or divide. With the invasion of the north of Mali by Islamist brigands, the tension between the two faiths risks polluting our relationships here in Ouagadougou. The more we can do to promote understanding and friendships between people of different faiths, the more we are likely to achieve peace.

We do not only want to give classes to prepare the exams. We also want to broaden the pupils' education and general knowledge. As a result, every Thursday morning, a day without classes, we give talks on topics that will open their minds and help them cope better with life. Although these talks are not obligatory, we find that about a quarter of the pupils come in for them. This makes the hard work of the teachers who prepare the talks worthwhile. They give their time freely.

Many of our teachers are, in fact, university students themselves and what they receive in reward for their work helps them pay their tuition fees.

Part of the library

The Pelican is a charitable foundation to restore hope to those who have failed their exams and who cannot return, mainly for financial reasons, to the public education system.
The pupils make a contribution of about £45 at the beginning of the year. However, this sum only covers the salaries of the teachers. We still have to find about £20 per pupil per year for the administration and running costs of the Centre. This requires substantial funding for us here in the Province of West Africa. Anyone who would like to donate towards our Centre can send their contribution to the Sector Treasurer in London and ask him to send it to us here.

Some of the pupils at the Pelican

We feel confident that our project is in line with our Society's objectives and is responding to a felt need at local level to bring the Good News to the people of Africa and the African world.

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