by Nadia Ramoutar MMM Communications Coordinator Ireland 04.06.2023
Since I began working for the MMM’s over two years ago, I have read reports of the field work the MMM’s were conducting in some of the most vulnerable communities in the world. At first, I read the reports with awe and at times sadness at the challenging conditions people were facing. The MMM Sisters base their work on the Visitation when Mary arrived to her older cousin Elizabeth in her hour of need when both women were pregnant. Without question or reservation, Mary rushed to her cousin’s side.
Due to Covid 19 and travel restrictions, my visit to the MMM Sisters in the Missions was delayed. I continued to work with the Sisters remotely from our office in Ireland. We met on Zoom and the usual office communications of emails and Whatsapp. When I travelled to Tanzania along with Sr. Sheila Campbell recently, I was moved by witnessing the work of the MMM Sisters and their staff in the field for several reasons. It was a life-altering experience to witness their work.
I read the words “remote areas” in reports about where the MMM Sisters were providing services, but it is only after some time in a 4-wheel drive vehicle that you can really know just how remote, remote really is. Sr. Mariana in Arusha told me that they carry shovels and hoes for when they have to dig the vehicle out when the roads get impassable. The conditions of the road alone would be enough to deter many of us, but not the MMM Sisters. The rainy seasons can cause tremendous damage to the roads which are rarely paved. The conditions can become treacherous, but not enough to delay the schedule of services.
The Sisters bring a clinic to the people who would otherwise not get medical care for themselves or their babies. The Sisters and staff spend hours making sure they have the medicines or vaccines they need to treat the people they will see that day. It is a sight to see all the huge suitcases piled high to make sure they can help people in their hour of need. I was also taken aback by the difficulty the Sisters face in just getting to the people they serve and they don’t complain or fuss at all.
If anything, you can see the MMM Sisters and their staff come alive with the healing charism as they meet the people they travelled so far to treat or comfort. The MMM Sisters are helping people before their child is born, all the way through to end of life and palliative care. Some of our MMM Sisters like Sr. Marian Scena and Sr. Maria Borda have been in communities so long that they are now treating the children of mothers they helped in the past. This intergenerational caring of the MMM’s creates tremendous trust and affection between the MMM’s and their people.
It almost feels like a homecoming when the MMMs arrive in a remote community. Sr. Mariana Mushi and her staff in Arusha cover 16 remote locations with a mother and children clinic each month. As the Maasai women flock into one of the clinics there is much chatter and greeting. They are gathered at a remote clinic and welcomed. It is a homecoming, one woman welcoming another in her hour of need.