“Give us today our daily bread”

Fr. Daquin Iyo Iyan, OMI
Parish Priest (Irinda & Gachanka)

The impact of COVID-19 on people within the Irinda-Gachanka community is real, felt, and is demanding that we be ever visible by way of expressing our closeness to our people we serve, people who are affected by the pandemic, especially the poor, the weakest, and the most vulnerable,  both individuals and families all together in the community.

While adhering to the Government’s strict measures against the spread of the pandemic, we remain close to, and journey with, the people entrusted to our pastoral care.  What we physically experience, see, and hear from families around us is the fact that COVID-19 has caused serious livelihood vulnerabilities, and especially food insecurity.  Here we share some echoes from two families with a picture for each.

Sarah Gerard Mwimbia, caretaker of three grandchildren.

Fr Jean Pierre Faye, OMI, Catechist Frank Mwenda and I (Fr Daquin Iyo Iyan, OMI), visited an 82-year-old woman, Sarah, who is the guardian of two boys and one little girl: her grandchildren.  She lives about one Kilometre from our community.  The parents of the little children are deceased.  Sarah took them in as their mother.  Sarah was full of excitement when she saw us standing in front of her small, simple wooden house.  We discovered in the course of our conversation how difficult this pandemic time is for her.  She cannot move outside of her home because of the information she has that older people are the most vulnerable to COVID-19.  In addition, she has limitations imposed by her age, which reduce her ability to cater to the daily upkeep of her grandchildren, and she becomes engulfed in worries when she cannot control their movements to ensure their safety.  Sarah thanked Catechist Mwenda for bringing her visitors, Fr Jean-Pierre and Fr Daquin, who came loaded with filled shopping bags to relieve the suffering caused by COVID-19.

Aged couple – victims of land grabbing

Kathambi and M’Mbijiwe are a couple of an advanced age, members of our Prayer House, Gachanka.  They lost their land, which was grabbed by someone else, and the case is still in court awaiting trial.  They live in a small wooden house given by a Good Samaritan: their situation is appalling!  Both husband and wife are faced with health issues and a lack of food,and are no longer receiving the previous assistance frequently given by their neighbours, because of the challenges now facing them also.  Our visit to this older couple, guided by Catechist Mwenda, was a response to their lack of food during this painful time, which has left the poor, the weak and the most abandoned very vulnerable.  Kathambi, who was left behind while her husband was taken to hospital for treatment, thanked and blessed us for the food we offered, and wished us well.