A letter from… Nigeria
Sister Rita Schwarzenberger talks about her charity work in Nigeria
As I write, it is coming to the end of the dry, dusty season; humidity is building up, ensuring that the flowering trees such as flame of the forest, bougainvillea and frangipani are splashing their bright colours around. Large luscious mangoes are hanging from a small tree outside my office, so heavy that the branches are weighed down to the ground. The few sporadic rains that we have had, a usual precursor of the season, have cleaned the dust off leaves of the trees, so the green sparkles in the sunlight; but the rains have also been, as is usual in the beginning of the season, accompanied by very strong winds, so we hear of roofs being blown off, buildings collapsing, etc. However, the mood is mostly upbeat because farming season is soon to begin, and that is the most important time of the year for the people in rural communities.
Atuna is walking with her sister to school — a simple, bare three-room building 500 metres from home. When we first met her in 2004 she could not walk at all. Rickets, for most people in the northern hemisphere, is now unknown, and when it was there, it was caused by a lack of vitamin D got through sunshine. As you can guess, we have no shortage of sunshine, but something is preventing the children like Atuna in the rural communities of Nigeria from getting enough calcium to strengthen their bones. Once they start walking or putting weight on their bones, they start to buckle. …
Sister Rita Schwarzenberger is director of Hope for the Village Child Foundation. You can support
her work by visiting the charity’s donation website: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/charities
This is an extract from the September 2013 edition of Reform.