.- Dust and mud brick houses everywhere – as far as the eye can see. The houses are indistinguishable in color from the ground on which they stand. Trees are few and far between.
The road leading northwards from the Sudanese capital of Khartoum shimmers in the burning heat. The temperature tops 110 degrees. At a certain point the car turns off into an unpaved road with deep potholes, entering a residential suburb.
“Welcome to the St. Kizito School of Dar es Salaam,” says our host, Father Daniele, as we stand in the courtyard of the school, which is named after the youngest of the Ugandan martyrs. This Italian priest is a member of the clergy of the Archdiocese of Khartoum. His fluent Arabic enables him to communicate with the people of his parish in their own language.
“I belong to the Neo-Catechumenal Way and I studied at our seminary in Beirut. I’ve been living in Sudan now for more than 10 years” – a move he has never regretted, he tells his visitor from international Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN).
“But it is an extremely difficult pastoral challenge for priests here,” he adds. This has to do more than anything with the life circumstances of his parishioners.
Fr. Daniele explains: “They are totally uprooted people. The parishioners here are for the most part come from the Nuba mountains in the south of Sudan. Their lives there were marked by the customs and traditions of their villages. But here, far from their homeland, they are completely lost.”
Many of the people many years ago came to the Khartoum area, in search of work or in order to escape the fighting in their homeland. But most of them can only survive as day laborers, and this eats away at the men‘s sense of self-worth.
Read more at Catholic News Agency.