Life moves on: Magis Youths Reflect with Survivors of Cyclone Idai

By Nobert Rwodzi SJ 

A group of hopeful and inspired youth from the Magis network in Zimbabwe and Mozambique gathered in Beira over the weekend of 4th to 7th of July 2019 to reflect and interact with the people who experienced the torments of the devastating Cyclone Idai.

Cyclone Idai took lives and destroyed infrastructure in Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe in March 2019.

The camp, themed 'Hope Beyond Cyclone Idai', was characterised by a sharing of the experience of some members of Magis from Beira on how the disaster found them flat footed. 

The youths shared how they helplessly saw friends, relatives and neighbours lose their lives.

A common experience for several courageous youths, was faith, a growth in faith. 

The youths expressed faith in being able to see how God worked in them even in such times of trouble and challenge. This is a rich element in people who follow the Ignatian Spirituality: to see God in everything. 

 

Fr Ignatius Padya SJ, the Delegate for Youth Ministry in the Jesuit Province of Zimbabwe and Mozambique, expressed his gratitude to the youths for the welcome and the support saying the affected youths were hopeful and on a journey to rebuild.

“We managed to support our friends, to give them hope and to show them we are together” said Fr Padya.

He went on to say, “we also wanted to hear from them their experiences and I am glad they are moving on. They are hopeful, more than some of us who were far away. For them life goes on, they are rebuilding.”  

Explaining her experience during the camp, Bernadet Matagala from Beira, remarked that “the camp was very good. Every single Magis experience is always different.”

She expressed how much young people can do in the church, if they do not distance themselves from its mission. 

Members of the group from Zimbabwe also took time to reflect on how they experienced this catastrophe from afar and how they mobilised resources to help the affected as well as offer prayers and encouragement to their brothers and sisters in affected areas. They also shared how they felt empty because of having to depend on social media news to know about the effects of the cyclone. This lacuna pushed them to spare a weekend in Beira to be with these affected.

Other sessions that dominated the program included a session on “Moving with hope beyond disasters using the Spiritual Exercises and discernment.” Such sessions made recourse to the riches of the Ignatian Spirituality. There were over fifty youths in attendance. The group made visits to different sites and presented gifts to an orphanage and a home for the aged in fulfilment of the ethos of 'Faith and being MAGIS, doing MORE for others.' 

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