Wheels4Life has send a total of 60 bikes to the African nation of Madagascar. Our partner on site is Sr. Mary Jeanette Rimando, Directress/Superior, Soeurs du Bon Pasteur, Centre Fihavanan. Sr. Jeanette will be helping us distribute bikes to people in need. The bikes will be distributed in the weeks to come, the stories will be posted soon, as the letters from Sr. Jeanette arrive.
Here is Sr. Jeanette’s description of the areas in Madagascar where Wheel4Life will be delivering bikes.
The village with mudhuts is in Zazafotsy in the region of Ihosy which is southeast of Madagascar. I had a chance to visit the place when I made my retreat in Ambalavao district and this place is about 150 kms more towards the south. This region is almost like a desert and water is scarce so trees are not existing and hardly a patch of green, no vegetable plantations nor rice. The people are destitute and I often wondered what would they be eating since I could not see any source of food anywhere. I see them sitting in front of their mudhuts. Sr. Maria Gauci, the nurse brought me to this village and said to me that they need all the help they can get. The village is along the road but the busses are not accessible to them since these buses come all the way from Toliara and are bound to Antananarivo so they cover distances all by foot when they go to market or to church or to the nearest clinic which is Sr. maria’s! I dont know if you are interested for there seems to be no sign of life as the government does not offer them anything. I only sent you the photo to show you what a poor village look like.
From a letter from Feb. 12th 2007
Now regarding Zazafotsy, I just received a letter from Sr. Maria Gauci saying that she wants to help the villagers of Zazafotsy and can I ask help from Mr. Hans Rey? Another synchronicity, and I am just amazed at how things are working so fast. You see the only communication we can have with Sr. maria is through telephone in Ambalavao which is three hours from Ankaramena and she has to be the one to call us up. We cannot call her because her place is covered by high mountan ranges but we can send letter to her through the Lakroa (Catholic newspaper) which leaves Antananarivo on a Friday morning and the chaffeur deposit our letter with the Reparatrix Sisters in Fianarantsoa where Sr. Maria can pick it up if she ever goes there. She goes to Fianarantsoa for her provisions at least once a week. So this is our connection with her.
She is an action woman even if she is already in her 70s she drives a landrover which serves as I said like a mobile clinic for the whole area of Ankaramena until Zazafotsy or even Ihosy. She is from Malta and has singlehandely built three schools for the poor children in the village of Tanenbao. Now she is building a retreat house for priests and sisters and I just marvel at her energy. She lives very poorly and has become like the poor she serves. She has a golden heart and cannot stand to see people sick without medicine or food. She was so pro poor that her congregation cannot cope with her avant garde ideas to help the poor, she had to leave the congregation to be able to do her mission of providing school where the government is not able to give. She is still hoping that some congregation will take interest in these primary schools that she built and will maintain them. She has offered it to us Good Shepherd Sisters and I hope our new Provincial will consder accepting it for she is really serving the needs of the poor. People continue to regard her as a sister and everyone respect her as a religious including the Bishop of the diocese; She has also built a small cute chapel which I like very much and spent my retreat there for the past two years; Yes, certainly, I can send her all your questions and when she responds I will communicate it to you right away. Please be patient because of the communication problem.
Until then, hope you are keeping well for you still have so many projects to accomplish.
Shalom, Sr. Jeanette