Reading the Petit Echo n° 1081, on page 302, concerning the Virtual Museum of the Mission, I felt compelled to look in my drawer for photographs that would contribute to your welcome initiative. I found three photos which remind me of some interesting moments in my life.
1. The first photo shows three Brothers.
On the left is Brother Jerome Kodjo on the day of his profession, the 15th August 1993 at Bambumines, his native village and the HQ of the gold mining company of Kilo-Moto. He was the first Missionary of Africa Brother in Ituri. His father was the Director of the Basic Education School in Bambumines, which is situated in the Ituri Region of the DRC. Its capital is Bunia. This region was formerly called the Vicariate of Lake Albert by the White Fathers. Afterwards the region was divided into two dioceses: the Diocese of Mahagi to the north and the Diocese of Bunia to the south.
Bro. Jerome is now the Provincial Treasurer of PAC.
The two other brothers in the photo were celebrating the Golden Jubilee (50 years) of their 1st profession. The one in the middle is Brother Joseph who was the Novice Master of the Brother’s Congregation in the Diocese of Bunia. The one on the right is myself; Brother Augustine Van de Velde. You can find out more about me in my autobiography, “Ma Vie comme Frère missionnaire.” (Published by the Generalate in Rome.)
2. The second photo evokes my visit to two White Sisters at St. Joseph’s Nursing Home at Evere, near Brussels.
On the left is Sr. Josephine Bashige who was convalescing. On the right is her sister, Alphonsine Bijundi who was a former Assistant General of the MSOLA in Rome. The real reason for my visit was to find out more about their father, Valentin Bashige. They referred me straightaway to the book “Valentin Bashige, le portrait d’un juste” which was written by Armand Duval M. Afr, curate at Bagira, near Bukavu, DRC. I had written two plays about their father, “Bashige Mkunzi, le soldat” and “Valentin Bashige, le chrétien.” In the meantime, I have just learned that Sr. Josephine has died.
3. The third photo shows the blessing of the buildings of ALFAJIRI by Bishop Gabriel Ukec.
We built it ourselves with practically no money. I received the bricks from Nyakasansa parish in Bunia. The Diocese looked after the transport and the Coordinator of Schools paid for the cement. We also installed mechanical shutters for the windows, and a quarter turn staircase, which are two areas of particular expertise in the trade. Refer to my autobiography (Cf. Above) for further details.
These three photos remind me of some important highlights of my life.
Augustin Van de Velde, M.Afr.