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Charity,  Faith,  Hope
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We thought the time to live in the 3 meters on 3 meters wooden houses was a forgotten one at Akamasoa. 10 years ago, in 2006, we prepared a big meal with thousands of people to celebrate the destruction of the same type of wooden houses, and their replacement by stone houses.

It was 10 years ago.

 

Today

Because increase of poverty, by hundreds families are coming from the street knocking at our door. Against our will, we see ourselves forced to return to these “Wooden constructions” by lack of finance. What a pity.

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Two reasons for this situation:

- To accommodate immediately these families who come to us from the street where they were living and; - To give an individual dwelling to all the people living since too long already into dormitories of our Welcome community Center. It is our desire, in fact, to give to each family a place, however small it is, for it to have a "home". It is in this intimate, than the family will find the harmony, solidarity and harmony lost due to years of street life. So we started doing these wooden houses that serve as first aid and where families start learning to live together with each other and also with their neighbors. They live there at 5 or 6 and even 7 people. 9m2 is cramped! But it's better than living on the streets or markets of the city.

Flash back

In the past, thousands of people lived in wooden houses we had built on the hill, Mangarivotra. And we noticed one thing is that despite their makeshift homes, a large solidarity prevailed among families, a deep and genuine solidarity. These families were all survivors of hell, the street or the landfill. And it is in this extreme poverty in their common struggle to get by, they realized that it was only with the other brothers and sisters, by joining hands, making a body compact, they would be able to reduce poverty. This remains an unforgettable experience for all the inhabitants of Akamasoa, and is part of the indelible history of our action. Today, despite the construction of villages in stone, normal dwellings with a small yard and a garden, this time learning, solidarity, remains in the memories of those who lived it as a moment of great human intensity of community and friendship. It's a bit what those families who arrive will start living in their turn.

To create and strengthen a State of Mind.

While many families have progressed since then, evolving within the group, each with a house, small but friendly, we have all the time to recreate this atmosphere of solidarity by village meetings, celebrations, masses, associations, community work area cleaning, sports and the health centers. All this is essential and must continue to bring people together, because the trend is known and seen elsewhere, it is individualism. But for now, mainly thanks to associations and the Eucharist, we would still weld the community and the people of Akamasoa. But this battle for solidarity, unity, friendship and brotherhood will never stay by itself for ever. It is a constant struggle to reach it, because man tries always to get everything effortlessly and selfishness and individualism dominate. This ideal is the only existing protection to save the group of internal dissent. We now pass it on to our young people who have not known it. We also know that this effort to unite people was done in the rich and very rich countries, and it has cost them a lot of effort, and all this is commendable. It is this kind of experience of solidarity must be promoted to unite the humans in a single family, in which there will be no exclusion or racism or intolerance or bigotry of any kind, that it is religious or political. Here in Akamasoa we make this human learning at a scale of a few thousand families, and, with ups and downs, we go on sometimes with sadness, sometime with joy.

First step to healing

This human learning for those families coming from the wild street starts by their installation in  a wood housing, and then a slow  process of reconstruction of the person and socializing start Families begin by learning respect for others, neighbors, and community life. This is the end of the anarchy of the streets; now here starts also a commitment to live together, that is to say to respect, help each other, and give advice and good example to children. It also begins to stop their adulterant relation and their drinking habit liquor as it was used to be in the slums of the capital, often to quiet only for a while the sufferings, the dramas, but as all of us know that at wake up the reality is worse than the day before

A state of mind to be created and to be reinforce constantly.

While many families have progressed since then, evolving within the group, each with a house, a small house but comfortable, we have all the time to recreate this atmosphere of solidarity by village meetings, celebrations and Masses, activities of associations, community work as the cleaning of the common areas but also sport activities and health boards. All this is essential and must continue to bring people together, because the trend is known and seen elsewhere, it is individualism. But for now, mainly thanks to associations and the Eucharist, we tied up together the community and the people of Akamasoa. This battle for solidarity, unity, friendship and brotherhood will never win for ever. It is a constant struggle, because man acts with selfishness. Only the ideal of this Community will help to save the group of internal dissent. We have already experienced this Ideal, and it is an experience that we now pass on to our young people and children who have not known it. We also know that this effort to unite people was done in the rich countries, and that cost them a lot of effort. It is this kind of experience of solidarity must be promoted to unite the humans in a single family, in which there will be no exclusion or racism or intolerance or bigotry of any kind, that it is religious or political. Here in Akamasoa we make this human learning at a scale of a few thousand families, and, with ups and downs, we advance sometimes with sadness, sometime with joy.

First step to healing

  This human learning for those families coming from out there starts with the first contact they have with their new home, this wood house, and automatically they are engaged in a process of reconstruction of the person and socializing.   Families begin by learning respect for others, neighbors, and community life. This is the end of the anarchy of the streets; now here a commitment to live together, that is to say to respect, help each other, and give advice and good example to children. It also begins to drop their adulterant habits and their alcohol addiction as they were doing it in the slums of the capital, often to quiet the sufferings, the dramas, but at wake up time it was worse than ever.  

We teach them hygiene, be clean, especially regarding collective wc and showers.

  All that is collective and community in general is poorly maintained or managed in indifference. We say that it is the other who will clean, not me, and so, like everyone thinks the same, showers and wc are often very dirty. The hygiene compliance is a crucial learning to be able to live together later in a new village. We have to assume this necessary but heavy financial support to them, it is our obligation of human been.  

A General look at these wooden houses is quickly done.

  • Each construction is 3 meters on 3 meters.
  • Everything is in wood, except the roof, which is made of sheet.
  • The floor is on cement.
Material and labor included, a house of this type has a cost of 250 €. In other words, the first home for each new coming family we anticipate this expense. People from the City or Municipal Authorities or Government don't realize when they send people the financial implication for us. They only know the saving cost for them.  Less for them, more for us and we have  to ensure the resettlement of these people, the food, health care, dress them and take care of them physically and psychologically. We have no financial help from the City or Municipal Authorities or Governments local or foreign. For us it is a whole chain of problems that begins: you must first create a small house first aid, with some furniture and give employment to parents with tools if necessary, and finally organize schooling children. This represents a significant cost, and explained why I am obliged to accept all the invitations around the World to testify of our dramas and our needs of emergency aid, which is to provide immediate and daily financing here in Akamasoa. Such aid must be brought as soon as possible and by the shortest way as possible. The poor who come to us are already overwhelmed by unfulfilled promises and by their own dramas. Cities, Authorities and Governments make promises but always unfulfilled. On our side we need to show them that we care for them, to get a roof on their head and a work to believe finally than a new life for them and their family is possible. Daily this kind of broken people are coming to us by hundreds. It is unthinkable that we refuse them and for the past 27 years we have never ceased to create, as we could do it, a pretty environment and best possible, so that their sufferings are mitigated and that wounds heal. And a first hope of recovery for these street families who come to us in total despair is to see all the other families who were in the same condition some time ago, already back on their feet and ready to rebuild their lives.

This motivates newcomers; they say;

"if those people were able to reorganize their life and to have a dignified life, why not us too?" We are the first to be amazed to to build again wooden houses. This is the drama and the current poverty that require us to do so. We hope that these emergency units will serve as the starting point of a new life to all these families and children that come to us daily here at Akamasoa.

The Holy Spirit will intervene as always to help us...maybe you too.

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