To be a missionary during this pandemic is a big challenge for all of us.
Most missionaries have turned to social media and live streaming to stay connected but how could that be possible in a place like Botswana where most people can’t afford the internet or don’t have access to it?
Before lockdown started, I bought a soccer ball because I wanted to have something to do during my time at home. In the beginning, there weren’t many cases of COIVD-19 in the country and the ones that did exist were all in the capital, which is very far from where I live. I started playing soccer with a child who lives next to my house and it was fun but sometimes it got boring because it was just the two of us. After a few weeks, we decided to invite two more guys who live nearby in the parish. They came and for the next few weeks, we all played. When the president of Botswana announced that the lockdown was about to finish, I started to think, what can I do with this time?
I came to realize that I had given those two guys an opportunity to have a different experience than just staying in their home with nothing to do during the lockdown. I asked myself, why can’t I do this for more people? I started to prepare a field in the parish yard where we could play games with more guys from the neighborhood. My two new soccer friends came to help.
By the time lockdown ended, we were finished with our space for the children. Each night, six people came to play on the field and on the weekends, our group sometimes grew to 12. They were not Catholics but they worked very hard with me.
Now we want to open this place for more people, especially children. We started fundraising and trying to get money to buy more games and activities. Our goal is to hold the gatherings once or twice each month.
Before lockdown, I did not know what just a simple ball could do for me. I have learned so much. I realize now that evangelization can happen in many ways. During this experience, it helped us to be open to a creative approach and put our ideas into practice.
Bro. Dario is originally from Córdoba, Argentina. He entered formation for the Society of the Divine Word in 2013 and professed First Vows in 2015. He traveled to Divine Word College in Epworth, Iowa, to study English in 2018 in preparation for his Cross-Cultural Training Program in Botswana. He will stay in Botswana until December 2020 and then return to Argentina. He plans to profess Perpetual Vows as a Divine Word Missionary in 2021 or 2022.