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The island of Madagascar in the Indian Ocean has a population of 18 million. About 80% live in the bush where they eke out an existence from subsistence farming in difficult climatic conditions – regular Typhoon strikes, very high temperatures, rainfall and humidity. Just 15% are Catholic.
Polish Oblate missionaries came to the island in 1980. Thirty years later many of the 50 Oblates there are young Madagasy.
Masomeloka on the east coast, where the Oblates are located, has a particularly difficult climate. Without adequate refrigeration it has been difficult to preserve medicines and the all-important TB vaccine, used to combat what is still a prevalent killer disease here. Problems with an old oil-powered fridge/freezer have already led to the loss of both vaccine and food. A modern solar-powered fridge would solve the problem, but at a cost of €13,600 for a 230 litre unit (the largest available in the country).
Thanks to a grant of €10,200 which we obtained through Misean Cara and the balance of €3400 coming from the Polish Mission Development Office, the people of Masomeloka will have their new fridge-freezer within the next few weeks.