Thursday, September 3, 2015

Religious life workshop

The novices joined other pre-novices from the Franciscan Missionary of Mary (FMM), the Presentation Brothers and the Brothers of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (FIC) for a week workshop on Religious life facilitated by Br. Vince Duggan a formator of the Congregation of Christian Brothers.
                                                          Participants of the workshop


By: Wallace Augustus Briggs

Friday, April 24, 2015

Respecting Differences and Working Together

Anthropologists discovered that, when faced by interaction that we do not understand, people tend to interpret the others involved as "abnormal", "weird" or "wrong"5.

Awareness of cultural differences and recognizing where cultural differences are at work is the first step toward understanding each other and establishing a positive working environment. Use these differences to challenge your own assumptions about the "right" way of doing things and as a chance to learn new ways to solve problems.

Monday, June 16, 2014


One of the highlights of last year was the two-week workshop we had on Training for Transformation.  Recently we had the chance to build further on that foundation when the TFT team returned for another week.
The workshop began by reviewing what took place last year. Then we were given time and space to share the experiences we had during our 3-month Pastoral Placement, which was a way of us putting into practice the knowledge gained last year.  We were able to practice important skills like doing a listening survey. Through the survey, we were able to identify problems that are affecting people every day, such as lack of food, medication and proper shelter.  This sort of process is critical if we want our projects to be truly liberating people.  After all, our aim is to make people independent and not dependent.

Generally, the whole course was very important for us. It helped us understand that transformation starts with me as an individual after which I may also transform other people. Transformation is not a one-day process, it is a long journey.
The workshop ended with the award of certificates of competency.  Our thanks go to our facilitators, our sister Ntombi Nyathi from South Africa, and our own Brothers Sunday and Paul from Kenya.

Participants doing an activity together.

Deep discussions are essential.

When you want to put your point straight!

Left to Right: Ntombi, Paul and Sr Scholastica (JMJ),
observe one of the fine works for prayer!

Listening and Dialogue are important!

When prayer puts a smile on faces!

Transformation is about working collaboratively!

Transformation is about putting ideas together!

Sr Scholastica receives her certificate from Br Sunday, Br Paul and Sr Ntombi.

When hard work pays!

No one could stop the happiest smile from Dominic
when receiving his certificate from Paul, Sunday and Ntombi.

Saturday, March 15, 2014


The construction of a concrete court able to accommodate basketball and volleyball has meant a significant improvement in our recreational facilities. It was complete by the end of November, and will shortly have a roof put over it to provide shade from the hot sun and shelter from rain. This will make it a very useful facility in the climatic conditions of Tamale.

For those who have been here, the court occupies the open space on the left after you enter the compound, in the open space bordered by the watchman’s house, the piggery and the chapel classroom wing.

Roofing is still in progress and once roof is completed, it will also provide a sheltered and paved space that can be used for social gatherings. The novices, who up till now have played mainly football on our small field at sport time, are now busy polishing up their volleyball skills and acquiring the basics of basketball.

Big Martin - Basketball Star tests the court!

Martin tries our the court with the new basketball!

Martin approves with a satisfactory pose for the blog!

The Basketball court - view from the Piggery towards the Team Room.

Monday, March 3, 2014


The blog in 2012 chronicled the death of Rex, the novitiate dog.  At the start of 2013 we got a new female puppy which, after some uncertainty, was named Tamale (or Tammy for short).

Under the devoted care of Martin, Tammy has grown and flourished.  She is out and about after 6 pm each evening, helping the watchman keep the compound secure.  Sometimes chasing a local cat which ventures onto our property distracts her, but otherwise she co-exists happily with the human and animal residents of our property and is a reassuring and friendly presence.  She has never caught up with that cat, so maybe there is no real animosity there, either!

The Dog's Master and Handler - Big Martin feeds Tammy...

Martin prepares Tammy for a walk!

Like all professional dog handlers, Martin takes Tammy for a walk around the compound.

Martin and Tammy resting!

Tammy takes a loving hug before going back to the kennel. 

Tuesday, February 11, 2014


During 2013 our community at the novitiate got to know the Jesus, Mary and Joseph Sisters (or JMJ for short), especially because two of them came here for two weeks in September for the Training for Transformation workshop.  They have their four communities in Ghana some distance from us, but after Christmas we were happy to accept their invitation to visit two of the communities near Lake Volta.

Lake Volta is the largest man-made lake in the world, so the trip to the lake and crossing on the ferry was an exciting experience for us all.  It was even more exciting for some of us who had never been on such a vast body of water or on a vessel as large as the ferry, which accommodates trucks and other vehicles.

Our stay in the JMJ communities at Yeji and Atebubu was most enjoyable.  The Sisters’ hospitality was lavish, to put it mildly, and we all came home a little heavier.  The spirit of Christmas celebration was happily prolonged, as the photos suggest.
Waiting Impatiently for the Ferry???

Ferry - here at last and unloading.

Novices happily on board the Ferry!

Novitiate Bus safely parked on the Ferry!

Donation or Draining Out! Martin donating blood!

After Novices have donated blood, a pose with Sr Laura JMJ (Lab Technician) and her team - to remember that time they were almost out of blood!

Another big meal just before leaving the JMJ Community at Yeji!

Superior of Atebubu JMJ Community, Sr Scholastica - takes novices around the the 90 acres of land!

JMJ Novice and CFC Novices posing with Sr Scholastica in front of the newly built Shrine.

Novices amazed by the environment - different from their home town, Tamale.

Celebrating the Feast of the Holy Family with the JMJ Sisters. Also the JMJ Feast Day!

JMJ Regional Superior cuts the Feast Day Cake!

JMJ Sisters, Christian Brothers and their Novices.

Departing Atebubu - with a little gain of weight.

Farewell wave from the JMJ Sisters.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014


Christmas in Tamale, a predominantly Muslim city, has a different feel to it.  One of the features of Christmas here is the way in which Dr. David Abdulai shares Christmas with thousands of others.  Dr. Abdulai is famous as the founder of the Shekhinah clinics and Food Programme.  The two clinics offer free basic medical treatment to anyone who comes.  In a similar spirit, the Food Programme provides a meal every day of the year for hundreds of prisoners and destitute and mentally challenged people in Tamale.

On Christmas Day several thousand of the poor in Tamale are invited to come to Dr. Abdulai’s residence where every person receives food and drink, as well as a gift of clothing items.  The logistics of distributing the food, drink and gifts are formidable.  Volunteers start the cooking well before dawn.  Many others help out during the day with transport, crowd control, giving out food and so on.

Once again this Christmas the novices had the privilege of spending over three hours helping as part of the volunteer force, which included local people, as well as friends of Shekhinah from other parts of Ghana and other parts of the world – including Canada, the UK and Europe.  It was a very special and touching way to share Christmas with others, and it made the meaning of Christmas very real for us all.
Br Tony, with keen eyes. checks out the clothes for girls before giving out.
Francis checks out the boys' clothes before handing out.
Big Martin tries on the hats before recommending them to the young boys.
Desmond checks out the long que to make sure everyone has a sachet of water while waiting to be served.
Lawrence looks on as little Charlie waits to be served.
From left: Philip, Cephas and Paul giving out lunch packs.
Desmond distributes water as  sign of welcome.
Other Volunteers from Ghana and Netherlands - giving a helping hand.
From left: Philip, Dominic and Volunteer, Margaret serving lunch packs.