During Easter, we went to the mission station in Pemo, the central part of Flores, near the Kelimutu lakes. Together with three seminarians, we helped organize the parish choir, liturgy, and all celebrations. Everything was going well and the parishioners were very glad. They are open-hearted people and mostly Catholics. The weather got worse on Saturday, strong winds and heavy rains came. The rainy season usually ends in this region at the end of March. However, this year is different. A plague had been raging for several months, killing almost all of the pigs on the island of Flores, and effected other animals too. In addition, although vaccination against Covid-19 has begun, it is still difficult to get accurate data, as there is no apparatus across the entire island of Flores to determine precisely whether people are actually sick and dying because of the pandemic. As usual, there is a denge which also causes deaths here.
Depending on the place - whether we help in remote villages or in cities - the restrictions are more or less strict.
And now also floods, caused by the cyclone, the epicenter of which is on the island of Timor. The people of Lembata and Adonara have suffered the most. There report about 100 fatalities. Of course, many people have to leave their homes to seek refuge in safe places.
Right on Easter Monday, we decided to return by car from Pemo to Ledalero. After a few days of rain and strong winds in the mountain region of Flores, some trees fall down and avalanches happen. Therefore, some sections of the road are blocked. But overall it's relatively safe. Today in Ledalero the weather is moderate. But yesterday there was a flood in the city of Maumere, near Ledalero. I had a Eucharist planned for today with the workers of our farm, but it was canceled due to bad weather.
These weather anomalies may last until the end of April, according to official information. But it all depends on where we are at the moment.
Sometimes it is safe in one place, and a storm is raging nearby. Electrical networks are broken, there is no internet access. So much depends on luck.
People try not to travel at this time. But of course most of the people in Flores are farmers. After the plague that fell on cattle, now it turns out that the harvest from gardens will be much less than expected.
We have a break from lectures at the missionary seminary in Ledalero. We pray for the injured, sick, and people in danger, and patiently wait for the weather to improve.
When it comes to vaccination against the coronavirus, Indonesia began vaccinating uniformed services along with priests. Foreign missionaries who do not have a permanent residence card are not included in this program. So we just pray, take care of ourselves, consume a lot of vitamins and fruit.
We try not to lose heart, but to look with confidence to the future.
Prayers of SVD
May the darkness of sin
and the night of unbelief vanish before the light of the Word
and the Spirit of grace
and may the Heart of Jesus live
in the hearts of all people.
(Saint Arnold Janssen)