Camissasa Healthcare and Hospitality Center in Nairobi, Kenya.
The Consolata Missionaries have broken ground for the construction of the Camissasa Healthcare and Hospitality Center in Nairobi, Kenya. The seven-storey building to be put up at the Consolata Regional House in Nairobi, Kenya will that will host and care for sick and old members of the congregation in the Kenya/Uganda region and will accommodate up to 27 people.
According to Fr Peter Makau, the Regional Superior of the Consolata Missionaries, the only such home for the elderly and sick members of the congregation is in Alpignano, Italy and the missionaries have for a long time been keen on having a house to cater for the needs of the elderly and sick members in the region.
“When missionaries grow old they need a place to stay and be taken care of. Until now we have only one home in Alpignano, Italy. A great number of missionaries who are aging and are sick, especially our Italian brothers who worked in Kenya for a long time and consider this to be their country had to go back to Italy. Some went back crying because this is the home they know but the regional house as it is now cannot offer the services they need such as constant medical attention. That has really triggered in us to come up with a way of helping our brothers, and also for ourselves because we will all grow old. This is why we thought of having a home for the Consolata missionaries,” he told The Seed.
The home will also provide accommodation for missionaries who visit Kenya and Uganda for documentation or for rest during their vacation.
“Nairobi has become a centre for Africa. There is the nearness to the best medical facilities in Kenya, which also serve other countries in Africa and we are witnesses that many of our brothers coming from Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Congo Mozambique come to Kenya to seek medical attention. That is why we thought it good to have the home in a central place where there is easy access to hospitals,” he told The Seed.
The superior also noted that by putting up the home in Nairobi, the region hopes to enhance integration and closeness with recuperating missionaries.
“Evaluating and looking at the other houses for the old and the sick, we found out that some are in very good environments away from the city, but the people living there are segregated and alone. Sometimes they die there of loneliness as nobody goes to visit them. It is necessary to have them near so that we can share with them, visit them, and make jokes with them. It is would also be easier for the family members to come to Nairobi if they want to visit,” he said adding that those who are elderly but still strong will also be able to help with some pastoral activities such as listening to confessions in the nearby parishes.
The Healthcare and Hospitality Center is named in honour of James Camissasa, the first Kenyan Catholic priest and African to become a Consolata missionary. When he was four years old, Mazruk, then a slave was handed over by the Italian governor of Somalia and the Italian Consul of Zanzibar to the third group of who arrived in Mombasa on May 10, 1903. The Consolata Missionaries adopted him and named his after Giacomo Camissasa, a collaborator and friend of the Blessed Joseph Allamano, founder of the Consolata Missionaries. In 1927 he was ordained priest and worked as a priest of Nyeri for 23 years before joining the Consolata Missionaries in 1950.
“We are thinking of working it in phases. The first floor with seven rooms will be exclusively for the sick missionaries who cannot move. We need specialized rooms for our sick brothers who need constant attention. With hospital beds and a veranda that they can move around. Currently it is a challenge for Fr Bianci who is in his 90s and Fr Njoroge to move around.”
The cost of putting up the Camissasa Healthcare and Hospitality Center is estimated at Ksh. 100 Million. While in the past it was easy to get money from benefactors in Italy, the tides have changed and as Fr Makau stresses, this money should be generated locally from our family members, friends, and benefactors.
The fundraising themed, “Let us build our home,” hopes to bring together benefactors, well-wishers, alumni, lay missionaries, and friends of the Consolata Missionaries.
“We have already began with the Consolata Missionaries themselves especially those working in the Kenya/ Uganda region, even those working outside the region but have the Kenya/Uganda origin have began mobilizing and we have received some funds,” Fr Makau said.
In a fundraising visit to the Regional House, the Deputy President of the Republic of Kenya, William Ruto noted that retiring missionaries deserve a place where they can be well taken care of. The Deputy President pledged to contribute KSh. 2Million towards the project.