Angola

Angola Diary

By Fr. Efren de Guzman SVD

March 21

I was awakened late at night by a desperate call: “Mano, Mano, (meaning brother). Come and help Devota.” The caller said their relative, an eighteen-year-old girl was thrashing about so violently like an animal. She seemed to be possessed by an evil spirit. Reaching the house, she growled at me like one possessed: “I know you and you don’t know what you are doing.” (The voice was like a hyena) a thought struck me: “Look at her eyes” The ‘demon’ would not look back but said: “She’s mine!” I said, “Leave her now, for I will call on the name of Jesus and the forces of heaven to overcome you.”

Angola Diary

By Fr. Efren de Guzman, SVD

After I got back to Angola from my medical check-up in the Philippines I was expecting to see better changes in the life of the people here in Luanda. But, to my dismay and deep sadness, the situation here is getting worse everyday. The poverty of the people is becoming more insupportable, the rate of criminality is rising, the number of the unemployed is growing by leaps and bounds. The general picture of Angola is a country beset by all forms of human affliction and torn apart by conflict and division.

Like beasts

Here in the city of Luanda, children are dying en masse without getting the benefit of minimal medical attention. Uncollected garbage clutters up the streets of the capital. Gun-totting members of the Armed forces and the police prowl the city thoroughfares like beast, desperately trying to augment their meager earnings through corruption and intimidation. The daily income of an ordinary man is eight million Kwanzas, equivalent to eight bottles of beer. Eight million Kwanzas cannot ever buy a can of NIDO milk in the only viable supermarket in the city. (Kwanzas is the peso of Namibia. The exchange rat of Kwanza in dollar is 1:1, 500, 000).

In the face of this vast scene of suffering and sorrow, I could only sight with a sense of helplessness. You may note that what I’m telling you is all bad news. Yes, but I have also some good news to tell – things that pertain to my pastoral activities here.

Angola Diary

By Fr Efren de Guzman SVD

 APRIL

April 14 Sunday

We held a meeting after the Eucharist. We had a big questions for the members of different groups of fishermen. Last year five different groups received a boat and net for fishing, but unfortunately none of the recipients want to pay back to help future members. We were so frustrated till we heard one good comment: “Failure in not defeat until you stop crying.”

Africa let me put my arms around you

By Fr. Efren de Guzman, SVD

He came into the room in a bloodshed cassock. I looked up at my brother wondering, seeing fatigue and pain painted all over his face yet hope still filling his eyes.

"Two of the tribal minority groups had a clash today. One of the chiefs was killed and I had to attend to him personally. It wasn’t pretty. But I know that as I served the people, they understood better God’s love,” he said quietly.

Angola Diary

By Fr. Efren de Guzman, SVD

July

5 and 6

Armed men raided one of our villages in Bengo, around 60 to 70 kilometers from the capital of Luanda. They killed five of our community members. They took away the crops of the community ad wounded some men. When I learned what happened and decided to bring some food to the people, the police at first did not want to let me pass and reach the area. But realizing the gravity of the situation, they allowed me to help our community. The orphans were crying to me, begging me to transfer then to our other villages because of what happened. A lot of them were traumatized and wanted to abandon the place. One feels so helpless in the face of such a situation because one can’t really do anything to stoop the abuses of the military who are very undisciplined and poorly paid, as a result. They prey on helpless people, robbing them of whatever little they have.

Angola Diary

Fr. Efren de Guzman, SVD

January

January 12, Friday

One of our beloved lepers died. His name is Macupa, 39 years old. Our leper catechists read the psalm 116: “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.” During our shared homily, another leper said: “People usually think of the dark side of death. For us lepers, death is a blessing from God. For us lepers, death is not gloom but glory.”

Angola Diary

By Efren de Guzman, SVD

Dearest MISYON Friends,

May the Love be the real joy of our life. What a privilege to have time to write you through my stories are sometimes sad. Will I write what’s really happening to me or things that will not worry you? Some friends were saying: “We all have problems. But sometimes it’s good not to tell them to our loved ones and make them unhappy. “But how will they know what to pray for it if I don’t tell them our latest news. I told you already what happened last December when we got involved in a shooting incident. Thank God we survived!

The War Goes On

By Fr. Efren de Guzman, SVD

For twenty years now a civil war has been in progress in Angola, the government forces being led by President Dos Santos and the UNITA rebels led by Jonas Savimbi. Elections were held under the auspices of the United Nations, but UNITA were not prepared to accept the result. Since they have access to $500,000,000 a year from diamond mines, unscrupulous arms dealers continue to supply then with arms. So, also, they supply the government forces who have oil reserves. Fr. Efren de Guzman, the intrepid SVD priest, and his brave companions continue to do what they can for the poor and the afflicted. Here is one of his recent reports!

Killing Children

On April 8, at 6:00 in the morning the government soldiers of the military camp in Funda, 40 kms from our convent, attacked the people near the camp. They cut off arms and legs of men and women; children were thrown violently to the ground. Some of the soldiers had lost their mind and accused people of having killed one of their soldiers so they could have some reasons for putting our people in prison.

Angola Tribal War

By: Fr. Efren de Guzman, SVD

 Fr. Efren de Guzman, SVD has been in Angola fir many years.  Now at a time when the country has been torn apart by civil war, he sees his work as bringing reconciliation. An impossible task you would say that true - impossible without faith that Jesus has Risen and that we walk with him in the darkness but towards the light.

God’s love and peace be with you and all your beloved ones! Sometimes words are not enough to express what I have experienced here for the last months. I seem to forget the last time I wrote you.

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