By Emmanuel Una
TWO compassionate Reverend sisters of the Catholic Church, Calabar, Cross River State, simply identified as Bridget and Onuigbo, have joined farming to their ecclesiastical work to raise supplementary fund to feed old and indigent persons at the Pope John Paul II Good Samaritan Home, a Catholic facility, which they oversee.
They cultivate yam, cassava, coco-yam and vegetables and harvest at due season to feed about 25 persons, mainly old and needy persons who can no longer feed themselves at the home located along Target Street, by Mary Slessor Avenue.
The home has been hit by shortage of food and other provisions for some years now as donations from kind-hearted persons were no longer enough to cater for the inmates, hence the reverend sisters thought of a way out.
It was learned that a thief, suspected to be one of the interlopers that come to the home to eat from the labour of the sisters, broke into the farm last year, and carted away tubers of yam.
We share our time between chapel, farm – Rev. Sister Bridget
NDV visited the home and was received by Rev. Sister Bridget who said they share their time between going to the chapel for prayers and going to the farm daily, except on Sundays.
“Today is Saturday, we just left the farm to the chapel for midday prayers before you came and later in the evening, we will go to the farm before we retire for the day.
“The church is doing its best but our prime supporters are members of the public and organisations. Since the support does not come sometimes, we have to farm and the harvest from our farm is most times quite useful,” she added.
She confirmed that they farm such crops as yam, cassava, coco-yam and vegetables.
How suspect was caught
On the reported invasion of the farm by thieves last year, Rev. Sister Bridget disclosed: “The suspect is one of the persons who usually come here to eat and we do not know what got into him and he came to steal our yams which is quite unfortunate.”
She said the suspected thief was chased by some passers-by and he ran into the wildlife park but was identified before he escaped into the forest around the Calabar Zoo.
“Some people come from outside during our meal times to feed. Those ones are not regular inmates but come during meal times. We have many of them like that but he chose to come and steal. Since then, he stopped coming here; maybe his conscience is pricking him,” she added.
Why children, family members chase away their old ones
She said many of the inmates were those abandoned by families and brought by members of the public or alert is sent and someone is sent to pick such a person.
Her words: “Some people when they are virile and well-placed did not take care of their children or family members and so when they grow old and cannot fend for themselves, they are usually pushed out by the family but we cannot allow them on the streets, we pick them up.”
She stated that old people in the place were not restricted to only Catholics but from all denominations, adding: “The only work they do now is to pray since they are very close to their terminal end.”