Called to Witness Nigeria

Called to Witness in Nigeria, Day Three

In April, the 2008 Called to Witness group will travel to Nigeria to see Catholic Relief Services responding to poverty and fostering peace. Check back in the weeks ahead for postings to our travelogue, telling the story of our journey and pilgrimage to Nigeria. If you are interested in learning more about Called to Witness visit the Called to Witness homepage.

Our third entry in the travelogue is written by Dennis Fisher, from Catholic Relief Services’ Northeast Regional Office.

the Martyrs of Uganda Parish choirMembers of the Martyrs of Uganda Parish choir perform a traditional song in the Kuru community gathering.

The Fruits of Kuru

Kuru, the highest point in the state of Plateau in the country of Nigeria, was the site of our first visit in the Archdiocese of Jos. The name of the community, Kuru, comes from the fruit that grows in the region. But the fruit of Kuru is both natural and human.

The reason for our journey to Kuru and the parish of the Martyrs of Uganda was to see first-hand the work of the Archdiocese and CRS with people affected by the HIV & AIDS pandemic. After being welcomed by the chief of the Kuru community, we were further greeted with traditional dance and music of the community. As we joined in the processional dance, the 400+ people present clapped in welcome. Not only were we humbled, but we were overwhelmed by the Gospel hospitality and the wide array of stories of hope of the entire community.

This parish is one of 23 sites where CRS supports community based care programs for orphans and vulnerable children in the Archdiocese of Jos. The people of Kuru have taken on responsibility for 130 children affected by the deaths of their parents and other family members. They have simply made these children their own. In fact, they do not call them orphans; they call them “their children.”

A moment of solidarity occurred when Called to Witness participant, Kat Doyle, was speaking with a few young girls. One of the girls commented to Kat, “You are so different from us.” Kat then asked the girls to look at their fingers and hands, and shook them together in various motions. Once the girls compared their hands to Kat’s and followed with the same motions, they “got it.” We are more alike than we think. Indeed, it is the same for all of us.

It is interesting that our journey is titled, “Called to Witness;” yet, today we were called to see the witness of the people of Kuru as they extended the same love to us as they do their children. We were called to witness our God present in the people of Kuru. We have become members of the Kuru community and our hearts will carry the care and love of the Kuru community back home. Hopefully the fruit of solidarity will grow in our work as well.

— Dennis Fisher

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