The Community of Sant’Egidio and the elderly in Malawi
The Community of Sant’Egidio in Malawi is made up by about 3,000 volunteers, spread from the North to the South of the Country. The volunteers are engaged in the friendship, the prayer and the service to the poor, the elderly, the children, the prisoners.
The young people of the community are currently taking care of about 950 elders throughout the country, in the city as well as in the villages.
The volunteers are engaged in a close friendship with them who depend from the help of the others even for getting food, or clothes. Some times they need to reach the hospital because they are sick or just to see a doctor for routine clinical control. One of the main issue is often the maintenance of the house that is too difficult and tiring for many of them.
Moreover many elders are use to take care of their younger relatives, most of them are their nephews, who remained orphans. In all this needs the friendship of the people of the community of Sant’Egidio became a practical help as well as a crucial support to face the life difficulties when the body became weaker.
Christmas time is a wonderful occasion to show the face of a new family made up around the Gospel. The community of Sant’Egidio is use to organize a lunch on the Christmas Day where all the poor are invited, especially the old people.
|The Guardian, September 2007
A House for Felister, an elderly woman of Malawi. Built by her "relatives": youths from the Community of Sant'Egidio of Mtsilitza.
"Sant’Egidio Youths build house for old woman"
You don’t have to be a millionaire to give alms to somebody in need.
Actually, the Community of Sant’Egidio believes that there is nobody so destitute that they cannot help another person just as poor. And this was the spirit that led youths of the Catholic Community of Mtsiliza (the zone) to mould bricks and construct a house for Felister Mayoni in the village of Mtanmdile in Lilongwe.
According to Konduani Hema of Mtsiliza’s Community of Sant’Egidio, Felister had been in a desperately needy condition ever since she had been left alone, with no relatives who could go and help build her a home.
“We saw the “granny” sleeping in this shack that was gradually falling to pieces during the rainy season. And so, as a Community, we took the decision to make the bricks ourselves and pay a bricklayer who could build an edifice to shelter our granny from the rain and whatever the weather may bring” he explained. The beneficiary, Felister Mayoni, expressed her deep gratitude to the Community of Sant’Egidio for the house. Mayoni admitted that since she’d been alone and without any help, she had never dared dream of having a house like this one. “I never thought I had relatives and friends in the Community of Sant’Egidio until this other day when they just came to inform me they would mould bricks and build me a home.
I don’t know how to thank them. Before building my house, they used to help me with the upkeep of my shack, which was nearly uninhabitable. But I had no choice; I was living there because I didn’t have anywhere else to go. If it hadn’t been for these youths, last season’s rains would have been the death of me,” said Mayoni, who finds it difficult to move her legs, due to the infirmity of old age.