Friday 12 April 2019

Bishop McKenzie’s grave has drowned

Archbishop Thabo continues his visit to the Diocese of Niassa in northern Mozambique, visiting the Bishop, the Right Revd Vicente Msosa, and his people after Cyclone Idai:

DAY TWO: After breakfast and Morning Prayer – and reading Jeremiah 28:17ff – at our Quelimane guest house, I return to my room to catch up and study the disaster intervention plan from Niassa Diocese. As intimated yesterday, this diocese has dealt with flooding, food and health disasters before. They are amazingly well organized and deserve all the support they can get.

Our departure to a district 30 km outside Quelimane city is delayed because of past conflict in the area, which means we need special permission to travel and a dispensation from the Governor. We get this and it commends us to the three district governors whose areas through which we will travel.

We arrive at our first destination, we duly meet the district governor and he briefs us. Temporary tents, seed, food and instilling hope through prayer are his priorities. He assigns the district planning director to accompany us to transit camps and areas where the displaced are to be permanently resettled.

It's raining again today and the camps are wet. Indeed more tents are needed, since some families are squashed together in one big tent. Drinking water is being piped to tanks in these camps and a less than adequate sanitation area has been set aside. People are traumatised – not only have they lost all, but relocating to new sites allocated by the government also means losing their connection with their dead, who are buried in low-lying areas.

More photos of the scenes described here can be found in our Facebook photo album>>

The chief in one such relocation area, Chief Frans, is impatient because he agreed to be relocated but is now a chief without his people as some are resisting the relocation and others are taking far too long to be moved. He blames officials. About 4300 people are to be relocated. Charities are bringing more truckloads of food.

We then travel more than 275 km to Morrumbala district along a pot-holed road, the last 50 km of which is gravel. It is raining persistently now and the road becomes a shallow river. At Morrumbala we are welcomed by clergy and Vida groups, who are calm and impressive in their interventions. All are relatively young, and left their families some time ago to assist in this area.

The land on which some communities lived is completely flooded, as are the churches. The grave of Bishop Charles Mackenzie, the missionary bishop who, along with a number of members of his party, died of malara here in 1862, has been “drowned” under water. The grave is in the village of Chilomo, which is covered by water as a result of flooding from the Shire River. Those affected went to their relatives to seek shelter.

What is needed now are seed, food, plastic to cover the thatch of makeshift shelters, and mosquito nets, since this district is full of malaria. We will buy bags of supplies tomorrow.

Bishop Vicente is worried about the districts around Maganja da Costa and Chinde, which are on the coast respectively north and south of Quelimane. They are not accessible and Bishop Vicente fears that since they are out of sight, they will be forgotten.

At the end of a long day, we have dinner and pray for strength, for good weather and tomorrow's program. We retire in Morrumbala at a bed-and-breakfast. I use a lot of Tabard to discourage mosquitoes because I find the net claustrophobic.

Do you and your congregation want to help the dioceses in Mozambique recover? 
Please give generously to ACSA's Disaster Relief Fund:

Please give generously to ACSA's Disaster Relief Fund:

Bank: Standard Bank of SA Ltd 
Branch: Thibault Square 
Branch code: 02 09 09 
Account number: 07 007 8394 
Account name: Disaster Relief Fund

1 comment:

  1. We are so proud of you and your witness so practically manifested in the dangerous trip you are taking. You remain in our prayers and I am going to encourage my parish to pledge financial aid


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