Fr Ambrose Pereira sdb
The oldest and youngest Mahitahi volunteers in the Solomon Islands this year have come from these two dioceses. Ian Bailey from Woodville and 21-year-old Hayden Powick of Nelson shared their talents, knowledge and skills in carpentry and computer technology at Don Bosco Technical Institute, Henderson, Solomon Islands.
Aged 80, Ian Bailey doubted whether his presence would be helpful to the students and was reluctant to accept the invitation. But, at the encouragement of his parish priest and former Solomons missionary, Fr Bernard O’Donnell, he agreed.
Ian helped eager youngsters ready for the building trade with maintenance and carpentry work in the institute. His long experience in construction and bridge-building was of excellent use.
Hayden Powick was delighted to volunteer his services and expertise in computer technology. He instructed the students, most of whom were much older, fixed and maintained computers and has created a website for the institution. He also helped with a two-week film course.
The joy and happiness these volunteers radiated stemmed from a deep Catholic faith and a strong spirituality. The daily Eucharistic celebrations, evening prayer and rosary were practices of piety that they always attended. Both were open to the realities of the Islands and ready to face the difficulties of a mission land. Cheerfulness and a spirit of readiness to help in any emergency have been their hallmark. They clearly enjoyed every moment of their stay in the Solomons.
If you are young or perhaps not so young, and would like to share your knowledge, talent and skill, and you sense that inner voice calling you, the Solomon Islands are waiting.