Visiting the prison in Yaounde

Yaounde Central prisonYaounde Central prison

I want to share with you about my visits to the prison.I go every Thursday for a sharing on the Gospel and on Sundays for Mass. Often one of the 5 Little sisters studying theology in Yaounde accompany me. Two are from Rwanda, two from the Congo and one from Cameroons and the prisoners are happy to see some younger sisters, but always welcome the white-haired ones warmly too! The prisoners have a project making bags and other things which they can sell for food. I try to sell outside the prison what they have made although it is not easy, but day by day we manage. I often experience happy surprises. Several times, the cab driver my fare of 200francs:  'Give the money to a brother who is hungry inside the prison'.  A few months ago, a lady I had never met before told me: 'I heard that you go to the prison, I want to do something to help those who are hungry. I know that there are many prisoners at Kodengui, so I plan to prepare a meal for 200 destitute men once a month or every two months according to my means, if you can help me to be introduced.'  Of course I am very  happy! I accompany her each time she goes. She is deeply touched by the misery she encounters. Often she makes 250 to 300 portions - a ball of corn with a sauce of vegetables, fish and peanuts - which tastes very good and is also extremely nourishing. She also collects clothes and soap and empty plastic boxes because some of the prisoners do not have lunch boxes. Her neighbours help her too and add fruit and bananas. We arrive with an amazing load. Last week, the guard made our admission complicated. I went to see the one in charge who gave us permission to pass and even sent some strong men to transport everything.  Distribution is always  tricky, but with the cooperation of a few Maximilians - a group who adopted the name of Maximilian Kolbe - whom I know and can call on for help, everything went well.

Library in Yaounde Central PrisonLibrary in Yaounde Central Prison

At Christmas, there will be about fifty baptisms: all are getting ready fervently, and thanks to Little sister Maria Colomba and through the catechists, each one will receive a rosary. We really want to thank all those who help us. With a few nuns who work in the prison, we have already collected money for a festive meal for these newly baptized, their godparents and the catechists. Some ex-ministers and directors have collected money to offer a meal to the most destitute and the women are entrusted with preparing the food. The minors and the sick are taken care of by the Egidio community. Pray that everything  will go well and bring a little joy to a very bleak existance for many. May the Lord visit every heart and bring hope to each one.