May 19, 2022 Last Updated 8:52 PM, Apr 1, 2019
Published in 2021
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Pygmies are an ethnic group generally known to live in the equatorial rainforest of Africa. They have a strong sense of community life, characterized by a lifestyle according to nature, unique. Their natural environment provides everything they need for their livelihood. Generally they are easily identifiable by their unique physiognomy and low stature characteristics that differentiate them from many other tribes or clans. They speak a common language known as "Bakar".

Academic education is not part of their tradition: given the structures at their disposal and the great distances. For these reasons many of them do not attend school, rather they have an informal and oral education. They have a natural symphonic and melodious way of singing, they use their voices excellently. Most of their songs speak of their traditions and history.

The Pygmies are surrounded by the "Banti", (a name that refers to the people living in Central, Eastern and Southern Africa) with whom they are more often forced to confront in many areas and in many aspects. The challenge of integration and mutual respect for cultures still leaves much to be desired. The real and lasting solution remains that of education.

Every culture needs to be educated and evangelized so that the more human and dignified coexistence can characterize the relationship between the pygmies and the "banti". However, much has already been done in this field and much remains to be done, as the challenges are still open. In the SANGHA region, precisely in Sembe, we have both groups living in the community, although with many challenges yet to be faced.

That is why pastorally, the local Church carries out initiatives that can help create an awareness of God’s love for humanity and for every human being, regardless of origin, race or nation. It is in this light of encouragement to bring the love of God to humanity that the Diocese of OUESSO organized a musical concert between the pygmies of the different localities, which were to converge at PEKE, around their Bishop, priests and religious and to all the population to sing praises to Almighty God who is the father of all.

Once we received the invitation of the Bishop, we Franciscan Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart who have been in Sembe since 1995, we immediately invited the children of our School, San Kizito of LIPOUA and those of the neighbourhood. We rounded up 21 girls and boys and immediately started the song rehearsal. All the members of our religious community, in the different labour camps, participated and encouraged. The children were often escorted to their homes by car to reassure the parents that their children were actually with us. Very often Anita PUNCINI, a volunteer from Switzerland who has been living with us for many years, did this service.

After three weeks of rehearsing songs in which we enjoyed the wonderful voices and joyful expressions of girls and boys we felt so good and grateful to God that he used us as tools to convey his love and joy to his children, the pygmies. It’s time to leave for PEKE, we will accompany: Mme Esther nurse of our hospital, Mme Nadia and Mr Jean Ndamo both teachers of our schools in EGNABI and LIPOUA, members of the parish choir and Dr. Buka, doctor in our hospital. Certainly the sisters could not miss: Sister Lucia Superior of the Community, sour Ritapia Director of the Hospital and Sister Blessing Head of our schools.

The new choir was named after: CORO SAN KISITO di LIPOUA - SEMBE. The choice of the name is due to the fact that the saint is a young African from Uganda who died because of his faith in God and that today he is a model of faith for young Africans.

On Saturday, November 13, 2021, we left for PEKE in two minibuses. We felt that the emotion filled every person with joy. We arrived at PEKE at noon. Being the first exit and the first time that the boys reached the city of Ouesso, the capital of their region SANGHA, we decided to take a few city tours to get to know some important places. They were so moved that some of them did not stop thanking the nuns for everything they do for them.

The musical concert began at 19.00, attended six choirs from various pastoral areas of the PEKE and other parishes such as: Peke, Palmeraires, village of Paris, Zoulabouth, Biessi, Lipoua da Sembe. The choirs made their presentation in the presence of the Bishop of the diocese of Ouesso, Mons. Yves MONOT, the Bishop of the diocese of Imfondo Mons. Daniel NZIKA, of the Priests and Religious of various congregations and of all the faithful.

Our profound joy is based not only on the fact that our boys sang better than anyone, but on the expression of joy and freedom that we were able to grasp in the faces of all the Pygmies gathered for the concert. Certainly through this experience they have been able to experience God’s love for every man and even strengthen their belonging to the society in which we want to live as children of God. The next day, we participated in the Eucharistic celebration in the new Church of PEKE and then we undertook the return to Sembe.

This experience was unique and will remain as an unforgettable moment for us sisters because God has allowed us to share with all the other Pygmies of the Region the certainty of being brothers in Jesus. We thank the Almighty for his boundless love. The Gospel mandate resounds every day in our hearts: "Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations..." (Mt. 28:19a).

Sister Blessing Lukong


Last modified on Monday, 20 December 2021 10:51

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