South Africa: With the Gospel Everything Becomes Possible

My name is Maria and I work for my country’s government in the health sector.

Each day I experience that the words of the Gospel help me to serve my neighbor better and even to resolve the problems of society. By putting the Gospel in practice, relationships at the office have radically changed: they’ve become more familiar, open and free. I share this ideal of life with three of my colleagues, and together we try to perform our jobs as a service to people, to our city which faces many great challenges.

There are two levels of government in South Africa: one is the traditional, which sees the Kgosi (chief) as the head. Each chief has specific expectations about the territory and a level of government with elected representatives who have others. Our challenge is to compose an agreement between these two levels, so that every decision can truly be for the good of the entire community, and so that it can always be more involved in the projects that are proposed.

For example, we built six clinics in our district. All the work was done in full agreement with the two levels of government, so that each clinic was fully recognized throughout the territory. Several authorities spoke at the inauguration ceremony, also members from the executive committee of the government.

A few days before the event, one of the Kgosi had called us to say that he would not be attending the ceremony because of a supposed disparity between the treatment of officials from the local government and the treatment of the traditional leaders. It was a veritable disaster, from every point of view. There was the danger that the people of the village would also refuse to attend.

We tried to resolve the situation by going to visit the chief at his home. We offered him a detailed  presentation of each clinic. Thanks to this gesture his attitude changed and he gave his assent to the ceremony, which then turned out to be a great success, an important moment for the entire community.

Now we continue to perform each task that is entrusted to us as an opportunity for coming together and helping our city to grow. And, slowly, we see the bonds improving between the population and government officials. Faith and trust are growing on both sides.

Moreover, traditional leaders and elected councilors are discovering their own roles in full respect of the roles of the other. And so the child care project is now in the hands of the traditional leaders, and the  project for youths is in the hands of the municipal councilors. It is no longer necessary to explain our choices to the different authorities, because they trust us, and the union among all grows in service to the community.

We experience that if we try to put the Gospel into practice, truly nothing is impossible!

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