Velderine, Grace, Ildevert, Princess and Manasse Mienanzambie were born in Congo. Their father worked for the army and they lived happily with their parents in their house in the army barracks, besides the country’s arms storage facility. On Sunday, 4th March 2012 an event happened that changed their lives forever. The entire extended family had gathered at their home to celebrate their uncle’s birthday. The children went to church with their aunt. Whilst they were away, an enormous explosion occurred in the arms storage facility beside their house, killing hundreds in the area, including all their relatives. Even their home was completely destroyed by the blast. Manasse, the youngest, was only 5 years old at the time.
The children never went back to the ruins of their home. They were taken to a place of safety, where it was found out that they had a grandmother in South Africa, and they came here. Mercy House is unable to accommodate them, but we have managed to get them all into school and assist them in many other ways. It has been our privilege. The photos below were taken soon after we met them. Left photo from left to right: Ildevert, Manasse, Grace and Princess.
(from left to right) Ildevert, Manasse, Grace and Princess
Zeng came to us in 2011 when he was doing grade 9. In grade 10 we managed to get him into the prestigious school, Dominican Convent School, where he matriculated. Thanks to one of our anonymous benefactors, he was able to do training in Multimedia, which he completed in 2017. He already has a good job. The photos show him at his graduation, on 17 November 2017, a great proud day, not only for Mercy House, but also for his parents and of course, Zeng himself. Well done, Zeng.
(from left to right) Zeng’s Father, Teacher Diana, Zeng and Zeng’s Mother
Since our beloved Father Jeremias was transferred in 2016 to work in the General Council in Rome, he has travelled all over Africa, attending to the Comboni missions and confreres in so many different countries. But he did not come to South Africa, until, to our joy and surprise he visited us in September 2017. In spite of being here for only 2 short weeks and having his community as his priority, he managed to fit in a Holy Mass at Mercy House for which we were immensely grateful. Thank you Father for fitting us in, and we look forward hopefully to a day when you may be with us more long term again!
Princess was brought to us as a 4-week-old puppy by our Angolan orphan boy in 2004. See photo below. We had not planned to have a dog, but there she was, the most beautiful puppy, who could resist that? Jacinto looked after her for several years until he moved back to Angola where he now lives. Since then Princess adopted our Riccardo as her soul mate.
Princess and Jacinto
Princess lived with us for 13 years. Everyone loved her and she was as much part of the family as anyone else. Towards the end of 2017 her legs began to give in. It got worse and worse and our hearts became heavy. The inevitable happened: in the end she could not walk at all and would cry, presumably with pain, or out of frustration. It was cruel to keep her alive in those circumstances. We had to put her down. The second photo was taken just before we took her to the vet to say goodbye, one of the hardest things we have ever had to do at Mercy House!
Thank you, Princess for being such a valued member of our Mercy House family. We will never forget you.
We always celebrate Christmas on the day itself, as this is the day when people without family will feel most alone. We started by recalling the true “Reason for the Season,” that gift giving expresses the love that our CHRIST brings to the world and that the ultimate gift is the gift of ourselves to God & others. We provided lunch and personalised gifts for around 60 refugees. Father Christmas arrived this year on a motorbike. He is seen in the photo with Father Jude, Comboni Provincial, who arrived just on time to welcome Father Christmas.
Receiving a Santa Shoe Box
A very warm thank you to all who contributed to making our celebration so joyful and beautiful.
As we wanted a special blessing on our New Year at Mercy House, we asked Father Jude to celebrate Holy Mass at Mercy House on the 4th of January. As always. it was a beautiful occasion. Father is seen in the photo below at our celebration.