The Diocesan Director of Caritas Australia has hailed the recent Brisbane visit by a Solomon Islands Trauma Counsellor as a triumph of message and mission.
Sister Carmel Bennett FMM said she was very pleased with the warm reception Martha Horiwapu had been given at schools and parishes across the Archdiocese.
“I really don’t think we could have had a better visitor for the theme of Building Peace Bringing Hope,” Sr. Carmel said.
“Today in our culture we want to know what’s happened to our money, so when Martha speaks about knowing the little boy John shown in the Project Compassion poster, everybody sits up and takes notice, because that’s their money.
“Truly though, the kids just loved the visit. One little boy wanted to give Martha his $2 directly, for John,” she said.
Mrs Horiwapu lives in Honiara, although she is a Malaitan by birth.
When the civil unrest started between the Guales and the Malaitans in 1998 she was among the first to deliver counseling help to the women and children (including child soldiers) traumatized by the violence.
Over the course of her week in Brisbane she crisscrossed much of the Archdiocese, talking at every opportunity in schools, campuses and parishes about the projects being carried out with the assistance of Caritas Australia.
Amongst some of the schools she visited were Padua College at Kedron, St Pat’s at Gympie, Mary Immaculate at Annerley, Corpus Christi at Nundah, ACU at Banyo, Darra-Jindalee Primary, Southern Cross College at Scarborough, St Mary’s at Beaudesert plus the Burpengary parish.
Sr. Carmel said Mrs Horiwapu had almost talked herself hoarse but the benefits of the visit would remain long afterwards.
“The other day we went to Darra / Jindalee parish school which is such a mixture of culture, a very multicultural school, and all these little children were sitting on the floor,” Sr Carmel said.
“Martha put up an overhead with the lyrics of the peace ballad, which had been written by boys from both sides of the fight in the Solomons, and here’s a picture of all our kids singing ‘let there be peace in our nation’, taking to it like ducks to water.
“It was just beautiful and the words are so good, that we’re all brothers etc. Such a great message for kids,” she said.
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