On Sunday July 17th we visited the Shangombo outstation in Lyasa, Zambia.
Posted on July 20, 2016
(EDITOR’S NOTE: We continue re-posting blog entries and photos from the members of the Oblate Mission Experience in Zambia. Our “Special Correspondents” are: Oblate Prenovices Brian Bernhardt, Teko Teko-Agbo, future Oblate Prenovice, Pedro Verdugo, Oblate youth ministry director, Miguel Munoz, their leader, Fr. Jim Chambers, OMI, and John Wagner, of OMSI. (Newest Posts are at the Top of the Page)
Posted July 20, 2017 by John Wagner
On Sunday July 17th we visited the Shangombo outstation in Lyasa, Zambia.
As remote as Shangombo is, even more remote is this is small community that has an unoccupied school near to the church. At this time, the area is dealing with a water shortage, which translates into a lack of food.
There is no longer a teacher there because the children would pay the teacher with food. Now that there is a food shortage, they have no teacher for education.
Fr. Pius and Fr. Jim Chambers held mass and confession for the people. Afterward everyone gathered together to sing and dance. They provided our travel team their best food for a meal as thank you for visited as well.
Posted on July 18, 2016 by John Wagner
Today I played frisbee and soccer with the kids of Shangombo in Zambia. It was fun watching them chase my poor throws! Now I have to admit I introduced them to frisbee, and they caught on very fast. We played some soccer as well. The kids tend to stay out all day, at least on Saturday.
Many children and groups meet on the church grounds for prayer or just for play. Today the team met with parish groups outside on the grounds. We met the choir group and we had a sort of Q&A with singing too!
I also sat in on a youth meeting with Fr. Pius. The parish youth here have many aspirations to help others in their local community in Shangombo. Since they have never been outside this very isolated village they wanted me to share with them what it is like to live in America. They asked me about the food we eat. They asked how children behave and what their interests are. They asked about how I traveled here. They asked about the environment we live in. It was difficult to explain these things to them because America is so huge and expansive compared to their community. However we had a wonderful conversation.
Also Fr. Jim’s travel team and church workers painted the second coat of paint on the church toilets today and now they match the church building colors. They are getting much closer to finishing the job!
Posted July 15, 2016 by John Wagner
Shangombo is a small village in far west Zambia on the border of Angola and inhabited marshland. There are a few small stores, some government buildings, huts and houses sprinkled around town. It gets electricity from small 14 kilo volt diesel powered generator that reaches out five miles in all directions. Hundreds of people from the area come to the Oblate church and use the grounds for assorted meetings, church related and otherwise. So of course, toilet facilities became an important factor for people that have walked from many miles around.
Fr. Richard and the traveling team with Fr. Jim Chambers all pitched in to paint the new toilets for the church. The today they needed to put an undercoat on the building, then then in the day apply a final tan coat with black paint along the bottom border. The colors will match the church building.
Posted July 14, 2016 by John Wagner
Today is Thursday and I am in Shangombo with Fr. Pius visiting a grandmother and her grandchildren. The parents of the children are both deceased so they live with their grandmother in this hut the Oblates built built for her.
The hut is nicer than most because it has a tin roof rather than grass. The hut also needs a mud glaze added to it just before rainy season so that water doesn’t crumble or wash out sections of the walls.
Posted July 14, 2016 By Brian Bernhardt
After a morning and the early afternoon dedicated to painting the newly created bathroom of the parish,we had the opportunity to visit with some of the groups of the parish. The first group we spoke to was the choir. During this time, Pedro taught a simple song in Spanish, and the choir taught a simple song to us. Then, we spoke with some of the members of youth group, and joined the younger group of kids praying the rosary.
Finally, after the group activities were done, we began to play soccer with the guys… This was something where interpreters were not needed. Pedro and I played for some time with the kids and many of the barriers were broken down.
Although I have experienced the differences in culture and language(even the English language; the kids were laughing at our accents at first), today was a beautiful day where I saw the family of the Church in both prayer and in soccer.
Thank you Jesus for a blessed day.
Posted July 14, 2016 by Teko Teko-Agbo
Today is the seventh day since we arrived in Zambia. We have been truly occupied with the experience. Thus far, my experience of this mission immersion is enriching. In this blog I would like to share the experience of the past few days, during which we did intense traveling in automobile. Firstly, we drove from Lusaka to Mongu, then from Mongu to Kalabo, and then from Mongu to Shangombo, where I am currently posting from.
Besides the rugged terrains which make traveling hard, our experience in the communities we visit seem to be worth the effort.
Since we arrived, we have been staying at the prenovitiate residence in Lusaka. The place is nice and very accommodating. This “luxury” was only temporary; in the words of Fr. Jim Chambers, OMI, we were only being acclimated, for the true mission was yet to come. It indeed came. It took us approximately eight (08) hours to drive to Mongu after a transmission issue with the minivan we are using. The combination of bumpy roads, and the three-hours wait for car repair taught me patience; For the six years that I have spent living in the US, I noticed that this virtue is rare, within the busy, overly planned and scheduled routine of the American culture. There is certainly something valuable to be learn from unplanned occurrences. I realized somebody else is in control of this thing, we call ‘time.’
Our next trip took us to Kalabo, a remote district where the oblates have outstations. The road to this location is extremely sandy and required a 4WD truck. When we arrived at Kalabo, the youth of the village received us with traditional songs of welcome. The songs, were accompanied with traditional African musical instruments such as drums, and clapping… we felt welcome. Having grown up in Africa, I can certainly confirm that hospitality is one of the values of this land. Strangers become part of the community once they have arrived. This value is even found and recommended in scriptures.
Finally, we drove to Shangombo, which was the most tiring of our journeys so far. Fr. Pius who is one of the community member at the Shangombo Mission Centre drove halfway to meet us, since his truck is more fitting for the driving conditions. The way to Shangombo is made of small villages of farmers, shepherds… the people happily waved at us as we drove by. Shangombo Mission Centre is right on the border with Angola. In fact, the zone where we are residing was once a refugee camp for those who fled the Angolan civil war. According to Fr. Pius, OMI, the Shangombo population is mixed with Angolans and Zambians. The Angolans brought their rich heritage of the catholic faith as taught by Portuguese missionaries. the catholic community is very alive in the words of Fr. Pius.
Today, Brian, Mike and I took approximately three miles hike though the winding paths of Shangombo. Shangombo is a beautiful country with little development. The sense of space and time is notable. In the coming days, we will be paintings the restrooms in contruction for the parish – St. Leopold- We are excitingly the experience here till we leave next Wednesday.
Posted July 13, 2016 by Fr. Jim Chambers, OMI
Left Mongu at 9am-made it across the new bridge by Sioma over the Zambezi. My buddy Fr. Pius met us right at the bridge and escorted us to Franciscan Srs convent in Sioma where we left the van. The roads from this point would not be good for the Van.
Sr. Marian was very hospitalable and provided an excellent lunch. In my rush to get to Sioma I forgot to pack a lunch for everyone. The religious of the missions definitely take care of each other!
We left Sioma at 1:30pm and many bumps later we made it to Shangombo at 5:30pm. We are a little dusty and slightly bruised, but very happy to have made it!
We were met by Fr. Richard Chanda, who immediately let me know that he had Kasama coffee for me????. It will be a good 8 days in Shangombo!!!!
Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate