“I am grateful to my God for the wonderful experiences I had.”
Sister Ankita shares the following about her experience in Botswana, which she visited starting in October.
The Republic of Botswana is a landlocked country in Southern Africa. Botswana is topographically flat, with approximately 70% of its territory being the Kalahari Desert. It is bordered by South Africa to the south and southeast, Namibia to the west and north, and Zimbabwe to the northeast. It is connected to Zambia across the short Zambezi River border by the Kazungula Bridge.
On the 15th of October 2022, I reached this beautiful country of Botswana by the Ethiopian airlines. I consider myself privileged and blessed to have this opportunity. As I thank God, I also thank our Central and Province Leadership Team for giving me this chance to visit our Sisters in Botswana and to know more about their life and ministry.
Sisters Nalini, Stella, Sunila and Bibiana gave me a warm welcome at the airport and we proceeded to our house in Metsimotlabe.
On October 19, I went to Kanye to be with Sister Mary Michael Dang as Sister Ann Muthukatil was on her holidays. The next day, Mary took me to St. Bakhita Preschool and I was happy to see the little children. It was a real joyful experience for me to be with those innocent ones. They entertained me with a beautiful programme and I enjoyed being with them. Sister Mary took me around Kanye and outstations where our Sisters minister. I was also happy to visit the families whom we are helping with the support of the Vincentian family. Visiting the Jwaneng diamond mines was an exciting experience. Being with few of our Associates and interacting with them about their life and work was very inspiring.
I was happy to see MpuleKwelaglbe Children’s centre in Jwaneng, where our sisters stayed in initial days and worked hard to bring up the children’s centre. Unfortunately, we could not continue our mission there.
The Sunday mass at Kanye was very lively with the total congregation singing melodiously and dancing gracefully throughout the mass. I was welcomed in the church by the parish priest and was invited to introduce myself. I felt people were friendly and welcoming.
Attending the final profession of the Sisters of the Calvary, the local Congregation at Gaborone, was another cultural experience for me to become familiar with the different rituals they practice. The music and dance was something amazing. That same evening I attended a rosary, novena and a Malayalam mass along with Sister Stella and Sunila. I was happy to meet many people from Kerala and from my own diocese.
On 29th October, Sister Stella and I came to Lobatse. I attended the Eucharistic celebration on Sunday in Lobatse and once again I witnessed the people’s wholehearted participation in the liturgy. Sister Bibiana Kindo took me to visit a few families. In the morning of 31st October, Sister Stella and I were welcomed at St. Mary’s School Lobatse. In the afternoon, we visited few families including SCNAs and Sisters of Calvary. On 3rd November, Sisters Stella and Bibiana reached back me to Metsimotlabe.
The next day Sister Nalini, Dr. Aletha and I went to Kasane, a tourist place for safari and boat ride. We stayed at the SVD parish. On 5th November, we went for safari along with an African family and we could see various animals and birds from a close range. In the afternoon, Father Elfredus took us for sightseeing. We saw the border areas of Zambia, Namibia and Zimbabwe from Botswana border. We also enjoyed a boat ride in Chobe River, which is one of the biggest rivers in Botswana.
Another memorable experience was my visit to Victoria Falls. On the morning of November 6, we went to see Victoria falls. Victoria Falls is in Zimbabwe. It is located in Southeast Africa, between the Zambezi and Limpopo Rivers. We travelled with two German tourists. I found the officials and people very simple and friendly. I am very privileged to have had the opportunity to visit Victoria Falls. For our luck, the weather was very good to view the waterfall. We had a comfortable trip back to Metsimotlabe. Since it was raining, the humidity was less in Metsimotlabe.
I had the opportunity to meet Bishop Frank Atese Nubuasah, SVD, the bishop of Gaborone. He was kind enough to give quality time for us. Sister Nalini took us to the newly built Diocesan Office and her office as well.
At Metsimotlabe, I visited the hospice on different days, talked to the patients and staff. I also visited nearby parishes, Ave Mariapastoral centre and Botswana art gallery. All the SCNs in Botswana gathered in Metsimotlabe on 11th November for prayer, sharing and celebration. Our time together was very enriching and fun-filled.
My visit to Botswana has impacted my life in a positive way. People are gentle, helpful and polite. I found women are more hard-working than men. People’s involvement in church activities is praiseworthy. Botswana is blessed to have many shops, including Indian shops, shopping malls. Though the local language is Setswana, majority of the people speak English. Botswana has a stable government. Education and health care are free. The government is doing everything for the development of the people.
Once again, I thank our Central and Province Leadership Team for giving me this opportunity. I thank the Sisters in Botswana for their hospitality and care. I am grateful to my God for the wonderful experiences I had. As we celebrate the Jubilee I pray that God may continue to shower blessings upon our Congregation.