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Don Bosco Matadi - Monrovia

Home for the young

Matadi Monrovia the Joy of Music

 Fr Solomon Gbaki, of the Anglophone West Africa Province (AFW), has recently discovered the talent of "Don Bosco Kids", a musical group made up of very young people. The "Don Bosco Kids" compose songs in which they defend the rights of children and, precisely because of the importance of the topics dealt with, are gaining important recognition and fame. While the young artists take care of recording the videos of their songs, Fr Gbaki, who is also a gospel musician, is helping them to write the lyrics, to spread their message far and wide.



28th August, 2020 by don Nicola Ciarapica

Tappita May 2020

The threats of Covid-19 have not even spared the missionary periphery of Tappita, in the Liberian forest. Despite the limitations, the Sons of Don Bosco continued to serve the young and the poor.The first case of Covid-19 infection in Liberia was announced on March 16 in the capital, Monrovia. To date, the official data show 383 cases of contagion and 31 deaths, even if it is feared that the real data are higher.Furthermore, many people are not convinced that there is a virus in Liberia, and many things of a different nature are seen. The missionary Fr Riccardo Castellino, stationed in Tappita, says: “From gestures of great generosity and solidarity to the gesture of a group that assaults the center of isolation and frees those in quarantine, celebrating. Reason: the virus is a government ploy to take money and the dead are victims of the evil eye ... Illiteracy and superstition are much worse viruses than COVID-19!"Pastoral activity has also taken on different rhythms in the mission. The school has been closed since mid-March, the celebrations with people actually present suspended since Palm Sunday in late May; the medical dispensary continued its service, but at a slower pace, as with the closure of schools, many people returned to the villages to work on their land to survive.However, the community has remained united and alive in different ways. The young people, suitably prepared, have carried out awareness-raising campaigns and educational activities: convincing people of the circumstances, presenting the means for prevention and convincing them to use them.Various parish groups have put together as much as they have been able to to assist the most needy (elderly, sick, disabled, widows ...). A committee went on to distribute food and sanitary items: rice, oil, handwashing buckets, disinfectants ... The Past Pupils of the “St. Francis” school have done the same.Sunday Mass was resumed on May 24, the Feast Day of Mary Help of Christians.Recently, through the Province, the mission received a subsidy to help the population in an emergency situation. After a careful study of the various cases, each sector of the Mission set itself in motion for a second round of distribution of food and health products to the most needy. And the school also met all the staff, teachers and non-teachers, who were forced to stay at home and with the last salary received in April: they received food, health and a "sachet".One sector that has not stopped, although it has continued at a slower pace, has been that of "construction works"! The long renovation of the small community house is over. The church is almost completed in its first phase: extension, presbytery and ceiling. And Kindergarten has reached the completion of phase one: foundation and level of the windows.Fr Castellino concludes: “We look forward with trust and hope. Behind the clouds the sun continues to shine!"



28th August, 2020 by don Nicola Ciarapica

Matadi Monrovia-MHC Grade 12 Students and their Principal

On 21 January, the students of the last year of the Catholic high school "Mary Help of Christians" met with their Dean, Fr Solomon Gbaki, SDB, before doing their final exams. The Salesians have been present in Monrovia since 1979 and manage parishes, youth centers, schools, oratories and chaplaincies. They belong to the Anglophone West Africa Province (AFW).



28th August, 2020 by don Nicola Ciarapica

Salesians in Liberia contribute in More4Education

On the 23 October 2019, Fr Sony Pottenplackal, Principal of the “Don Bosco Technical High School” in Monrovia, represented Don Bosco institutions as a panellist at the “Education Conference” in Liberia organised by “Youth Coalition for Education in Liberia” (YOCEL) in collaboration with “USAID” and the Ministry of Education. The Conference was dubbed “More4Education”.The Conference, held at the “Bella Casa Hotel” in Monrovia, brought together more than 125 participants from different sectors of the country including government, private, youth and civil society to solicit buy-in and support a minimum 20% of the national budget for education and to also identify alternative domestic resource mobilization to increase financing.During the meeting, Fr Pottenplackal shared insight on “How we can leverage on Domestic Resource Mobilisation to finance the Education Sector”. With his rich experience in the educational sector in Liberia for more than 6 years, it was not difficult for him to make the most inspiring contribution on the way forward for Liberia. Focused on solutions rather than the challenges, he advocated for a 20% increase in the national budget on Education. He also advocated community engagements and networking as an important means to obtain the desired results. He shared ideas on domestic resource mobilization for education. External support for education in Liberia must be intensified – technically, financially, pedagogically and investment.“We are happy to contribute to education in Liberia, especially because it involves young people. We are part of the TVET working group in Liberia represented by Fr Sony Pottenplackal (SDB). We want to continue to support development of young people in Liberia. We are ably aware that Liberia needs a lot of support in its educational sector and we are ready to be part of a solution that will ultimately improve the lot of young people,” said Mr Benson Osei-Savio Boateng, Research, Networking & Advocacy Coordinator of Don Bosco Youth Net – West Africa.Formation of young people is a cardinal pillar in the Salesian Mission. The Salesians of Don Bosco Anglophone West Africa Province (AFW) consider education and technical education as the highest priority in the province. And against this background, many steps are being taken to enhance education and vocational training in Liberia.Through the “Feel the Electricity” Project supported by “Missioni Don Bosco” in Turin and the Salesian NGO “VIS - Volontariato Internazionale per lo Sviluppo”, an Electrical Training department is being set up in a participatory process that has led to the development of Occupational Standard and Curriculum for the profession of electrician which have been validated.Liberia needs all hands on deck to support Education for a prosperous tomorrow. Don Bosco’s hands have been and will be on the deck all the time.



28th August, 2020 by don Nicola Ciarapica

TAPPITA 5th March 2019

The Salesian mission at Tappita, restarted at the beginning of 2018, after years of forced absence, is "at the far edge of the world", within the Liberian forest. Yet there are even more peripheral realities: like the villages of Sahnpa and Zeah, which Salesian missionaries managed to visit for the first time just a few weeks ago, after more than a year after their arrival to the area. "Last year, the rains started early and so they took us by surprise," explained the director of the mission, Fr Riccardo Castellino.Currently Sahnpa has no real church as the one they had was crushed by a tree in 2016, felled during a bad storm. To avoid the complete dispersion of the community, one of the members of the village has made available a room of his house for Sunday meetings.After having recalled the faithful with the bell - "or rather, beating on that wheel rim of truck that serves as a bell," continues Fr Castellino - in that room a dozen people gather, surprised to see the priest, but extremely pleased to see that they have not been forgotten.After the Mass, the Salesian is accompanied to see the place where the church stood, and where the community intends to rebuild it: it is an expanse of brushwood, where there are already many reconstruction materials: the blocks of mud, the timber cut and stacked, the metal sheets, "even if still more are needed, but the money is gone" ...In order to get the work starting again, the first step is to clean up that site, but for the construction there is still a lack of cement and tools and material required by manpower. For this reason, Fr Castellino asks the community members to make a donation and send it to him. "We will try to do something to make sure that with the arrival of the rains, this community has a roof under which to gather to pray and grow in faith," he concludes.In Zeah, on the other hand, there had been another Salesian the previous week, who said that not only did the inhabitants not have a church, but they had never even had one: the Mass was celebrated under the palava hut of the village, the kiosk used for village meetings."With the church or without the church, faith survives! But we commit ourselves to doing something for them too ... and to visit them a little more often," concludes Fr Castellino.



28th August, 2020 by don Nicola Ciarapica


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