Cl. Joyston Machado sdb and Fr. Brian Moras sdb
GUJRAT, APRIL 19, 2012: A Salesian Mission Experience Camp to Gujarat, for post X and XII boys, was organized by the Don Bosco Youth Services - Mumbai from April 12 - 17, 2012. There were forty three youngsters who participated in this camp.
On reaching Gujarat the first mission stop was at Don Bosco Snehalaya, a house for youngsters from difficult situations. The youngsters spent quality time in getting to know the backgrounds and the stories of the boys. Fr. Steve Rodrigues, In charge of the institution later enlightened the group with an overview on the workings of the Salesians in the field of street works especially in Baroda.
The next mission was at Don Bosco Tanakla. Fr. Rosario Vaz along with other Salesians was very hospitable in leading the youth around the house giving them a brief explanation about the different activities and projects that the community is involved in. Shortly after lunch, the young 'missionaries' had an enjoyable period of harvesting onions. Later that day we went to see one of the biggest Dams in Gujarat 'The Sardar Sarovar Narmada Dam'. We had the privilege of seeing the Hydroelectric Power Plant and understanding the dynamics of the Dam.
The next two days we spent at the missions of Don Bosco Kawant. We spent time visiting the village and getting to know the culture of the people. Fr. Gregory Almeida, Rector of the institute made us aware of the works of the Salesians for the upliftment of the poor villagers. Fostering 'Self Help Groups' was innovative and effective in these areas.
We also spent time at our Mission Centres at Chhota- Udeipur and Narukot. We were touched by the warm receptions that we received and with our interaction with the Salesians, the boys and the villagers. The personal testimonies of the pioneering Salesians made a deep impression on the young minds. Each day had a particular theme that we focussed on, namely: Awareness, Service, Celebrating the Rathwa Culture and finally Gratitude and Vocation. Each evening, we spent reflecting on the day's experience and the learning's for life.
On the final day, we visited the FMA Sisters, the Mother Teresa Sisters and the Cloistered Carmel each depicting a different spirituality in the Church.
The last stop of our long journey was at Don Bosco Baroda. We had a special interactive session with the youth of this place and the community.
The camp was an enriching experience for all of us. It has challenged our youngsters many of whom will also be joining us for the Vocation Camp in the month of May. Reflecting on his experience one of the youngsters quipped, "Gujarat may not be shining, but the Salesians are definitely shining in Gujarat".