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Short report on the catechist course conducted at Tusimpe Pastoral centre from 2012-2014

For some years, we had been conducting short courses for voluntary catechists. Lasting two or three weeks during the year, that is one week or less each term. However following the example of other centers like Shingai in Gokwe or Dingindlela in Jotsholo we saw the convenience of having longer courses for these catechists who are helping so much everywhere, but who very often lack a good knowledge of our faith as well as the teaching method and practice.
The idea was brought up to the Zonal Pastoral Council (ZPC) of Binga zone in2011, to find out the responses from the different parishes. We had in mind to follow Jotsholo’s Mission pattern, that is, three weeks each term for three years. Though the idea was widely accepted,  but they thought that in the first term of the year few people would attend as it was a time to be in the fields  hence we followed the pattern of Gokwe Mission,  that of two full months for three years. +like that we started in June 2011, followed by October 2012. Even the month of October was hard for all, trainers and trainees, because Binga is a very hot place, and again, towards the end of the month many want to be already preparing the fields or even planting. Therefore in 2013 as well as 2014 we changed to September .
One of the concerns and fears from the beginning was the number of people who would be attending throughout the three years. Hence we tried to encourage all to persevere, though some still dropped out. Initially kariangwe Mission had 16 catechists, nine from Binga, and five from Kamativi Mission. During the first year four dropped out, in the second year we saw six drop out while in the last year only one left. 19 trainees completed and received their diplomas. Binga had the biggest number of grandaunts, eight, followed by kariangwe with seven, Lusulu had three, and kamativi one.
We tried to give them a good introduction to the bible, both the Old and New Testament as a good explanation of our faith(the Creed) , the Sacraments, Ten Commandments, prayer life , Social Doctrine of the Church, Inculturation( including a good introduction to the Tonga culture and religion), Small Christian Communities, Teaching Methods and Practice. Other activities included: to visit some of our out centres,  to have an experience of the SCC in Bingacentre,  as well as to pray alone and as a group.
It has been a very challenging and enriching experience. As the program ended participants became more united and proposed a continuation of the same course in the form of a refresher course every year.
At the end of the course it is time to give thanks to God who has accompanied and guided us in so many ways, to those who have been the facilitators to all those topics mentioned above, both priests and lay people, and of course to those who have attended and have tried very hard to follow all the lessons and things done, though for some of them it has been very hard, as they lacked a good school background. Thanks are also due to the different centre who have contributed with their money to pay something at TusimpePastoral Center for the meals, though this course has been partially subsidized. Only Time and people will say whether this type of course should be repeated again


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