St Josemaria’s message on excellence at work is just what Congo needs
June 12, 2006
Interview with Josiane Mpeye, Congolese hospital doctor
On May 29, 2006, Dr Josiane Mpeye took part in the presentation in Rome of new Harambee projects. During a musical evening in Rome’s Olympic Theater, she described the projected creation of a medical clinic in Kinshasa, under the auspices of Monkole Hospital.
This clinic is aimed at mothers with small children in three rural zones of Kinshasa. It will offer medical assistance to 600 mothers and around 1000 children. Once the three clinics depending on Monkole Hospital are up and running, regular monthly services will be available.
Interviewer: Dr Mpeye, you represented Monkole Hospital whose project was selected this year for support by Harambee. Do you think that yesterday’s musical spectacular, and this sort of event in general, can make an impact on Western society?
Mpeye: Definitely. Harambee offers us a space for communication, for contacting an audience who only know Africa through clichés, a particular way of viewing and thinking about Africa. But yesterday evening gave us an opportunity to address a wide range of people directly. It gave Africa the chance to express itself directly.
Interviewer: The Harambee venture came about because of the canonization of St Josemaria Escriva, founder of Opus Dei. Is his message of sanctification one that your society looks favorably on?
Mpeye: People take a very positive view of his message. After years of destruction, we are determined to re-build our country on solid foundations. This rebuilding won’t be done just with money from the West, but most especially with a change in people. St Josemaria’s message is just what is needed here, because it aims at each individual improving in their own job of work.
Interviewer: The program you presented Monday is about a significant health provision project, but also requires an equally essential training program for staff. Do you think you can set that up successfully?
Mpeye: Through this healthcare project - the creation of medical clinics in three of the poorest parts of the capital city - we also aim to contact the whole person. People, young or old, sick or healthy, constitute Africa’s real wealth. In these desperately poor districts, material support is important, but it sometimes comes second in the scale of human needs. The attention you give to the individual makes his or her self-worth grow. That is an essential outcome in my opinion, and it can’t be measured by statistics.
Interviewer: Do you expect a great contribution from the Italian public?
Mpeye: Of course. We expect a great material and moral contribution. I know Italians working back home who are putting their lives on the line for us, and I am so grateful. What I want to make people understand is that, as our late Holy Father John Paul II said, what we need is intelligent solidarity: bringing relief to real needs.
We need help for good, solid educational and ethical training. We can do something about the material side of things ourselves.
Interviewer: One of Harambee’s mottoes is “Helping Africans to help themselves”. Do you think Harambee is getting there?
Mpeye: By what I’ve seen so far, yes. Helping right where people are most in need is a guarantee of stability. That type of project makes a real difference. Like that even if the people who set the project going were to leave it, the stability of the projects is assured, because it has become something of our own.
Harambee – “all together for Africa” – is a solidarity project set up for the canonization of Josemaría Escrivá, founder of Opus Dei, with the help and donations of participants in the canonization ceremony and many other people and institutions in the years since then.
The primary objectives of the doctors at Monkole Hospital are:
a) A program of assistance for pregnant women (pre-natal consultations)
b) A vaccination program for children from 0 to 5 years
c) A special vaccination program for neo-natal sickle-cell anemia
d) A program of protection against malaria (still present in the districts targeted by the project’s clinics.
This action is indispensable for reducing the number of cases of severe anemia requiring urgent blood transfusions. On the social side mothers and mothers-to-be will be helped by skills training in areas including sewing, crafts, soap-making, local cuisine, horticulture, etc. These classes aim to give them sufficient income to enable them to access medical care. The fight against illiteracy, essential in promoting the dignity of women, is also included in the overall project.
For more information go to: http://www.harambee-africa.org/
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