Thursday 28 May 2015

Maroua, Cameroun - The young, the elderly and the softness of friendship

Inspired by the perspective of closeness and reciprocal support between the young and the elderly which is one of the themes on which Pope Francis’ preaching insists the most, the communities of Sant’Egidio in Africa and elsewhere endeavor to bring liveliness and joy to the relationship among different generations, between the age of memory and the age of possibilities. 
All this manifests itself in a variety of ways: in a friendly visit, in fighting against any superstitious stigma or credence with regards to the elderly, and in providing concrete, active, attentive and loyal support. 
That is what happened for example in Maroua, in the Northernmost part of Cameroun, which is one of the regions threatened by the clashes ignited by Boko Haram, but also one of the poorest regions in the country. There are many elderly who live in conditions of extreme poverty, in part because they share in the scarcity of resources that affects everyone, in part because they find themselves without relatives, abandoned as they are in their huts deprived of the minimum necessary to survive. 

The members of Sant’Egidio in Cameroun, with their limited means, have decided to support the most severely exposed among the elderly by welcoming them in an extended family which never fails to provide them with its presence and its care. Hence the decision to collect funds to buy and donate mattresses, beginning with the village of Ouzzang, just outside Maroua. It was a simple gesture, a sign that there is someone you can count on in all of life’s occasions, a way to remind ourselves that friendship dulls the harshness of life, making it softer and easier. 

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