We Are The Missionaries Of Africa
There was a song out not too long ago entitled, “People are People.” It was a popular song filled with lyrics that spoke about the similarity of people. No matter where we live or what color we are or what we believe in -- nearly each one of us has the same type of concerns and issues facing us every day.
I mention this because those words came to mind recently when I received a letter from
Fr. Benno Baumeister -- one of our missionaries working in Burundi in Central Africa.
Burundi is a tiny country -- centered between Tanzania, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Yet while its land area is even smaller than the state of Maryland here in the U.S., the people of Burundi know suffering and poverty just as well as any of the men, women and children of Africa’s other nations.
“The people of Burundi suffer from incredible poverty,” Fr.Benno explains. “Diseases such as malaria, hepatitis A, typhoid, bacterial and protozoan diarrhea and AIDS claim the lives of tens of thousands of people every year.”
“Food is also a problem,” he continues. “Parts of Burundi regularly experience food shortages. The situation is so severe that four out of five people do not have enough food to sustain themselves.”
Nearly five million people in the country are malnourished. That’s half the entire population!
“In 1990, the Missionaries of Africa started an outreach program here in Bujumbura to provide food and medicine for some of those affected by disease as well as hunger. Right now, we are treating nearly 2,500 people infected with the HIV/AIDS virus. We are also caring for more than 3,300 orphans and needy children. And like the adults, many of these are also infected with HIV/AIDS.”
“But with proper medicine, there is hope. Once people are well enough to leave our care, we help them develop income generating projects -- which will help them become self-supporting as well as provide support for the outreach program. To date, some of the patients are involved in sewing -- making school uniforms -- basket weaving, raising livestock and planting fruit trees.”
“But without the food and medicine we provided for them when they were sick -- and some on the verge of death -- none of
these projects would have been possible.”
“That is why I am writing to you -- because it is critical that we have enough food and medicine to care for some of the thousands of men, women and children coming to us sick and hungry. ”
"Is there some way you can help us?"
My friend, as I write this letter to you malnutrition and disease continue to take their toll on the poorest of Burundi’s people -- especially the children. Is there some way you can help us support Fr. Benno’s work?
While I am hoping we can raise at least $40,000 to provide food and medicine for the Missionaries of Africa’s outreach program in Bujumbura, Burundi -- as well as support our other programs and missionaries serving among Africa’s poor -- please know that any amount you can send will help. Whether you send a small donation or a very large one, the most important thing is that we not turn our backs on our brothers and sisters who continue to suffer.
Imagine the difference your gift will make in the life of a poor child who is sick from malaria, or typhoid or even AIDS. Your donation could provide them with the medicine they desperately need as well as a hot meal! Thank you so very much -- and God bless you for your continued kindness and generosity.
Your Missionary Friend,
Denis P. Pringle
Director of Development