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A particular Mission



A pioneer work among the Bara tribe

15/09/2006: Madagascar - Photo gallery

The Ihorombe, in the south of Madagascar, is the region of the Bara tribe, a nomad tribe, a little similar to the Masai of Kenya. Its richness has always been the large number of herds of zebus. Due to their nomad life, the Bara people have always avoided schools. The future of the children and young people was in the beef cattle.

When the Marist Brothers took over the college of Ihosy (capital of the Bara) in 1985, they were immediately posed with the problem of these young people who did not come to school. The first approaches of an apostolate with the young Bara people were made by Brother Alexandre Ramarosandratana. But it was Brother Tiana, himself, the Merina, who became a Bara, heart soul and body and who was adopted by the Bara people as one of their chiefs who would totally look after the education in this tribe. The Bara Mission started in 1996.

Brother Tiana proceeded by foundations of small schools: two or three classes for he villages of this nomad people are also very small. At the moment there are nineteen schools and nearly nine hundred students, of whom some are ready to go to university.

When you think that roads practically do not exist, that you need to cover kilometres on foot, that you need to content yourself with the frugal food of these nomads, building nineteen schools, finding the funds for the buildings, the teachers for the courses and paying them, this has been a colossal success. In order to do this pioneer work, you need to be visionary and audacious.

The care of education leads also to that of health, as malaria and neuro-malaria are frequent, as are illnesses spread by poor water. The schools also double as a small dispensary with current medicines and the digging of wells to have potable water.

Brother Tiana has also become the advocate of these people with the authorities. Being nomads, they have never thought about obtaining the papers to certify that they own the land. Also, before this juridical void, some multinationals are tempted to take over their land and the government to sell it. But there are also armed bands that kill and steal entire flocks… Sometimes the situation is very tense. Brother Tiana knows he cannot defend the Bara people without becoming fully involved.

In the silence of prayer, when a new day dawns on the plateau of the Ihorombe, Tiana gives himself to the Lord and also totally to the Bara people, and the effort grows and the battle continues, with the joy of seeing more and more young people coming to the schools and a greater number continuing into secondary. A better elite of the Bara people is being formed. Several hundreds of thousands of Bara people are starting to dream of a different future. (Brother Giovanni Maria Bigotto).

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