We are blessed to receive and be able to share this moving account from Sister Clare Emeruom on her new year visit to villagers in Adamawa state in northeastern Nigeria.
Sr. Clare captures the heart of the HVM sprit! Through the magic of the internet we are able to share her journey almost instantaneously.
Via email from Sr. Clare ——-
“Thank you sister Rosemarie for your good new year wishes.
I went for an unforgettable missionary experience in the interiors of Adamawa state.
I had the desire to spend part of the Christmas/new year holidays with a different people, to reach out to those not my own, to see a different place and to meet a different people. I also wanted to test my courage. The state I went to, Adamawa, is in the north east where boko haram thrive. People put fear in me when they heard of where I wanted to go but I thought “Is it not humans that live there?”
I thought of being in solidarity with the people over there. I went and everywhere was calm and serene. Things are going on well. I was informed that the area never experienced any attack of boko haram in spite of the fact that they are located in the middle of the bush, in totally remote and deserted area. So it was good to know that boko haram terrorists are not in all the areas in the north.
In those small villages, people came to new years eve vigil mass and masses at dawn in huge numbers without fear, relaxed and sang praises to God. When the people were told in Church that I too am originally from the far east of the country, they were surprised I made the decision to come. They were very happy and grateful. I was glad I did. I am glad I was able to reach out. I am glad I could value the poor of a different people.
The new year eves vigil mass I attended was in a small village called Detti in the middle of the bush. No roof, fallen walls, no light. Total darkness all around, even though we started the mass as early as 7:00 pm.
It was good to see another world in a community you drive to via a bush bumpy path for up to 70-100 km. No hospital, no market, no water but for little streams which are almost dried out due to dry season.
I was well welcomed as I could pick and say a little in their language. I greeted them in Church in their native language. The morning after New Year mass in another community called Jamgbunu, the women came to visit me specially with a basin of groundnuts. They live by their farm produce and bush meat. It was such a good experience to see them still happy and healthy and worshiping God. They only have one catholic church there with a young priest doing his best.
I also did a lot of home to home visitation. Wonderful people there. It was certainly a different New Year celebration for me. I resume work officially today. Tomorrow and next we will have our usual retreat to begin the year.
The different communities I visited shown in the pictures are Detti, Jamgbunu and Karlahi.
Rev. Sr. Clare Emeruom, HVM “