Turkana Desert – A Heritage Tour (continued)

Turkana Desert – A Heritage Tour (continued)

by Sr. Prisca Ovat MMM             Nigeria/Kenya                 06.03.2023

As the journey through the Turkana desert continued, we had the opportunity of visiting the MMM community in Lodwar, where the only living story is of the late Sr. Rosetta Furlong who sadly passed away in 2007 from a spider sting.

The locals who narrated the emotional tale confirmed how they too were attacked by such dangerous spiders.  Thanks to development in the country, the MMM community in Lodwar is no longer present because they have moved on. However, many priests and religious still have good memories of our mission in Lodwar.

That evening ,at the Bishop’s party for priests and religious, we received a very warm welcome from all who knew and heard of MMM. Next, we were brought to see the Kakuma mission hospital.  By this time only 3 staff who worked with the Sisters were still available, one of them a driver who was enrolled in a driving school through the influence of the Sisters.  They generously narrated a little of what they still recall and expressed with joy how much the Sisters. impacted their lives.

Life would have been more difficult without the livelihoods made possible by the Sisters’ presence.  The less privileged received great attention as school fees were paid and free services were offered.  A nutritional program continued for pregnant women and children at a time when famine greatly plague the land.  Mobile outreaches were very functional to meet the needs of those unable to access services.  Now there is a downward shift in these services including staff maintenance because funds dried up as donor support was discontinued after the departure of the Sisters.  The diocese has had a rough time maintaining all these services. And in truth, some footsteps were either too fast or too difficult to follow.  The local people are now realising that missionaries are present to capacitate, build up the local community and then they move on.

The catering school is still active and very effective, unlike some of the services which discontinued for lack of sustainability.  The catering school started out as a request from the non-governmental bodies which at the time had structured the Kakuma refugee camp.  It was intended to train caterers who would meet the nutritional requirements of the NGO staff, and the Sisters initiated and supervised the training.

We walked through the wards, the theatre, the pharmacy, the outpatient department, and the administration block with everyone frantically searching for ‘something MMM’.  A sign, a poster, a name, a visitor’s book, paperwork, records, merely something to bear witness to our presence there, but none existed.  Apparently, those who took over the mission renovated some of the areas, and signs were lost in the process. Notwithstanding the setbacks, the facility continues to operate for those in dire need of care. It is an aspect of MMM known to the world that, in response to our charism we empower the local people with skills that foster autonomy and continuity. And no matter the obstacles, God always shows the way!