Among the people of my community, gratitude is the basis of joy, it is its true root, and for this reason it is given first place. In these months we too have many opportunities to say: thank you!
For the Christian community of Ouassadougou, where I am living my mission, gratitude has always been at the basis of joy, it is its true root, and for this reason it is constantly given first place. People are grateful for yesterday, today and tomorrow, without necessarily having a specific reason. However, I have asked myself several times how they are always so joyful, despite the many difficulties and challenges of life.
Yet, one of the words I hear most often is kla in the language baoulé o kamma in n’gain: i.e. “thank you”. He thanks himself for every gift received, from the smallest and seemingly insignificant to the greatest. In the mission and in the villages I hear thanks for the help we offer, for a gesture of solidarity or simply for a fraternal greeting. Accompanying these thanks is always a blessing. We often hear people say: «Thank you for what you did. God bless you!”. A further token of great appreciation.
Even more significant is the fact that people never forget to thank even after some time. And they are always ready to offer their goods as gifts, even when they have almost nothing. Moreover, they never keep this gratitude to themselves, but share it and bear witness to it incessantly within the community. And so this testimony of gratitude becomes somehow “contagious” and is transmitted from one person to another.
This year, even the PIME family can’t help but be grateful. In fact, the missionaries of the Institute have been in the Ivory Coast for fifty years, a presence that has also been enriched by four priestly ordinations of young people from this country. One of them, Richard, belonging to the ethnic group n’gain. it comes from my mission in Ouassadougou. For our community it is a real novelty and a great joy. Richard will be ordained this summer and will be the first missionary priest of this parish. The community is already preparing to welcome and celebrate it.
To celebrate PIME’s fiftieth anniversary, we have also inaugurated a grotto dedicated to Mary. Here the faithful will now also be able to address their infinite gratitude to her.
In short, in recent months there has been and there will be no lack of opportunities to celebrate and to give thanks. And so, kla (o kamma) to everyone!