Sr. Efrosina Mbiki, CICM, is a secondary school teacher by profession. She’s also “assists in healing and rescuing the lives of children” at Mgolole Orphanage.
The Mgolole Orphanage is one of the oldest centres in Morogoro, Tanzania and is known locally as a centre of hope, love and tranquility for orphaned children. Sr. Efrosina says that the children end up at the orphanage for many different reasons, some are unimaginable.
“Many of them lost their parents and others were thrown at the bushes due to hardship of life or their parents needed to live luxury life.” -Sr. Efrosina
And, while the thought of an unwanted child can bring a tear to any eye, the orphans appear happy and content in the arms of a Sister. Sr. Efrosina notes with sadness that the orphans’ circumstances are against God’s will. This is why she dedicates her whole self to caring for God’s innocent children. She emphasizes the importance of healing the mind and the spirit of these fragile and forgotten children.
“The experience of looking after the orphans teaches me to be absolutely surrender myself for the purpose of rescuing life with love and care for the innocent children.” -Sr. Efrosina
She tells the story of Moses, the child of a Hebrew slave, who was saved from certain death and adopted by the Pharaoh’s daughter (Exodus 2:1-10). She uses this story as her strength as she rocks an orphaned baby to sleep, humming,
“Baby, baby! Don’t cry! God loves you. God will protect you just like Moses.”
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Caring for orphaned children is a difficult vocation. But, Sr. Efrosina is one of the lucky ones who received a quality education through ASEC’s Higher Education for Sisters in Africa (HESA) program. She received her bachelor's and master’s degree through HESA, even graduating with first class honors! Sr. Efrosina says that the psychology classes, in particular, are very helpful in caring for the orphans.
“The congregation [struggles] to pay school fees and provide basic needs to [the children]. It is not easy to take care of the children who have no parents but through the help of God, the skills I got from HESA program and the staff collaboration the impossible things become possible.” -Sr. Efrosina
Each day, Sr. Efrosina rocks the babies to sleep, plays games with the toddlers and encourages the students in her classroom. She cares for them as if they were her own. The children surround Sr. Efrosina and the other nuns, tugging at their clothing and reaching up to them for the hugs and affection they were deprived of from their own mothers.
And, they know they are loved and cared for at Mgolole.
Both the school and the orphanage where Sr. Efrosina serve are run by her congregation, the Sisters of Immaculate Heart of Mary (CICM), known locally as the “Mgolole Sisters.” Currently, there are over 100 orphans living with the nuns at Mgolole; from infants all the way to secondary school.
Service Learning at the Orphanage
“This has impacted me beyond anything I can explain. There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think about Africa.”
Emily recalls seeing the children laughing and playing. Although the children at the center are faced with issues that even an adult would have issues overcoming they still find reasons to smile.
“As the hands and feet of the Lord,
We must do what we can do
To spread His love to these children,
And help them make it through.”
-Emily Schweiger, excerpt from Orphans of God
Perhaps what has helped the children achieve this happiness is the sense of protection. The children are aware that even though they face great challenges there is a Catholic nun watching over them. The nuns at the center act as guardian angels for the children.