The Catholic Mission of BEFASY

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Misje Befasy

 

 

The village of Befasy is located about a four-hour trek through wilderness, crossing a wide river Kabatomen, which is an intermittent river. For four months of the year it is impassible due to high waters.

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Misje Befasy05Misje Befasy04The village of Befasy numbers about 800 inhabitants. The village boasts of an administrative building, a military police building, and a public school. Unfortunately, the doors and windows have already been stolen from this school. The thieves are now working to steal the wooden ceiling.

Also, there is a building with a “hospital sign”; the people say that a doctor comes very seldom. The build- ing is in very sad repair, without beds and mattresses. In the village there are many springs, but only the one close by the church functions, mercifully because a catechist cares for it. This is a positive sign of hope !

 

Also, there is a building with a “hospital sign”; the people say that a doctor comes very seldom. The build-ing is in very sad repair, without beds and mattresses. In the Bolek Puisvillage there are many springs, but only the one close by the church functions, mercifully because a catechist cares for it. This is a positive sign of hope ! The inhabitants live by tilling the soil with field peas and bobu. They occupy themselves with tending cattle (zebu), swine, goats and fowl. In this region there are cattle marauders who attack the villages and steal whatever is valuable, namely cattle. The main mode of transportation is a two wheeled wagon harnessed to a pair of bullocks.

The last Malagasy missionary, who used such a wagon, was deprived of his transportation along the way he was traveling; he returned to the village on foot. But a real missionary gains much optimism seeing a large group of children in this village. There are more than 150 children attending the catholic school. When I walk and view the condition of the building – church inside, I don’t know where to begin a needed renovation. In fact, one has to project the entire building. First, one must create habitable conditions so the missionaries might be able to reside at the place in order to serve the Christian community.

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Another surprise: the teacher must teach two classes at once, because the people can’t pay several teachers. At present, there are three. And yet another surprise. Half the children write in tablets on the ground, because there is a total lack of school benches. It is indeed a sad sight, and simultaneously it is a call to us all. To build a new school is one of our priorities. In our schools, we will have the children and parents – this is our best investment.

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As Oblates, we decided to undertake this project because other communities reneged on accepting this mission on account of the perilous situation and difficult conditions. Today we are celebrating the 200th anniversary of the founding of the Missionary Oblates. Therefore, this mission has deeply motivated us because we are specialists of the most difficult missions.

The south-western part of the island is a Muslim enclave. There are still other less numerous groups within the country, yet all trade is in their hands.

 

 

On November 27, 2016, we officially took over the care of this new mission. Previously, the Salesians has ministered here for 15 years.

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Father Marek Ochlak
Missionary from Befasy