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By Fr. Mario Gaspar dos Santos, SDB

       Shuwu, Mongolia, 24 November 2022 -- One of the Salesian mission frontiers on the periphery of Ulaanbaatar is Shuwuu in Mongolia where the Salesians are based. They live in the middle of the poorest people and reach out to them daily.

       Here is one story.

       Holy Family parish is in the Khan-uul district, 40 km from the capital of Mongolia, Ulaanbaatar. The parish was entrusted to the Salesians in 2007 by Bishop Wenceslao Padilla, CICM. In winter, the temperature reaches minus 45 degrees. The poor families live in a Mongolian traditional house (ger).

       Here is a story of a family consisting of a father, mother and two children. The first child does not have any permanent work and the second is studying in college. Six months ago, the father was paralyzed and now the mother cares for him. With no job, she usually picks up cow dung in order to warm up the ger.

       When I entered the house, it was terribly cold. The mother had not warmed the ger yet, because there was a lack of coal. It was minus 15 outside. The husband lay down on the bed covering himself with 3 layers of blankets. When I looked around there was nothing, but only an empty basket for the coal.

       So, I asked the mother:

       “How are you going to cook tonight? Is there anything for dinner?”

       “We don’t have anything for dinner, we did not eat for the whole day,” she answered. And she continued, “I will go out to look for some wood to heat ourselves.”

       I told the lady to follow me so I could give her one basket of flour and buy some sacks of coal.

       “How can you survive in this terrible winter without any coal?” I questioned.

       When we arrived at the Holy Family Parish, I took one basket of flour and gave it to her. The store did not have any coal, so I bought them two heads of lamb. With help from the Don Bosco Day Care center’s manager, we went to purchase coal. I requested the purchase of 12 sacks. Normally, a Mongolian family can purchase only 6 sacks for the week. We received special permission and purchased 12 sacks.

       The family was very grateful for the help we offered them. They promised that they would attend church activities.


 

 

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