There are nineteen children inside the candle-lit church. They are sitting on the benches and enjoying a dinner consisting of broth, while chatting about the situation outside. They are not heeding Father John Paul’s warning about chewing before swallowing. He goes to the statue of the Virgin Mary, kneels down in front of her and asks her to help him provide for the children. Since its outbreak six years ago, the tuberculosis epidemic has wiped out one third of the city’s population already. The first to die were the elders, who were then followed by the children. The few who managed to survive the disease are now killing each other over the last scraps of food. As if that wasn’t enough, the country has run out of oil. The wells that once dotted the desert have run dry. Hence, it is not safe to live here any longer.
Father John Paul made the right call, when, two years ago, he decided to turn Notre-Dame d’Afrique into a children’s shelter. He used to go ...Read more