Orientation Program for New Missionaries in Sierra Leone The University of Makeni (Unimak) in partnership with the Religious Conference of Superiors of Sierra Leone offered an orientation program for new religious men and women in Sierra Leone, that is, those who have arrived in the country less than two years ago.
This initiation course was held in Fatima Campus in town of Makeni and the main aim of it was to provide religious men and women with the cultural background of the local people in order to enrich their various apostolates and ministries.
Several congregations working in different dioceses within Sierra Leone sent some members: Xaverian Missionaries, Josephites, Augustinians Recollect, Holy Rosary Sisters, and Cluny Sisters. Though the participants were mainly Africans, most of the religious men and women come from different countries across the African continent. Regarding facilitators, most of them were Sierra Leonean lay and priests with the exception of Sr Magdalene of the Congregation of Notre Dame Sisters and Doctor Sue.
Facilitators covered various topics like: The cultural overview of groups in Sierra Leone (tribes or ethnic groups); the Church in Sierra Leone vis-à-vis some moral issues like abortion, contraception, suicide and the likes; the political and economical situation of the country today precisely after the elections; The election and the role of a paramount chief within the political system of Sierra Leone; Krio language namely proverbs, stories and songs; Cuisine in the country, etc.
The whole program was light and enjoyable not only because of the loose timetable which offered participants a good time to know and interact with each other since many of them came from different countries, congregations and backgrounds. Also, activities such a visit to Bumbuna hydro power plant enabled the religious to admire the genius of Sierra Leoneans working there. In the same way, the excursion to Bumban village under the leadership of the paramount chief was very interesting.
Participants were warmly welcomed with traditional dance, music, and food. This excursion offered participants a glimpse of the role of the paramount chief within his chiefdom. At the end of the program, the general feeling was one of satisfaction as all the participants went home enriched, empowered and equipped to serve the people for whom they consecrated their lives. Many thanks to the Unimak and to the Sierra Leonean’s Religious Conference of Superiors.
Fr. Guy Adolphe Khasa Mvumby