She has been working in the orphanage for 25 years. - This is my home. I'm happy here. Sister Mariola is the superior of the orphanage. - Life has taught me to think about what happens today. The future can be planned, but usually in order to hear God’s laugh. He knows what we need and he takes care of us - she says with great confidence and peace of mind. Kasisi is a place brimming with life, however it is also often a place of suffering and difficult goodbyes to those for whom the earthly time ends. - Death of a child is killing me, but I think then that I do not love him more than God, and it just goes out of my hands into his - she explains. Sister Mariola does not only take care of the formal issues, making this great machine work, but also of the older girls who often need to talk, to get advice from someone they could confide in. The youngest children love her - when she shows up, they call her "mommy". - Maybe people think that I'm the boss of bosses, but if there was no community of sisters, there would be no such place. Sisters share my vision and realize it. We have the same thoughts, desires, and work style. I know that when I leave, everything will work here - she says. - Ever since I came to Zambia, a lot has changed. Today, people are far more sensitive to children's wellbeing. Once, when a mother was dying, the child was forced to share her fate. Today, people often approach me in Lusaka and say that they have heard that there is a child who needs help. Nowadays people bring their own children to the orphanage. They are heroes, because even though they cannot give their paternity, maternity, they donate them life in this way.
She came to Zambia 15 years ago. She did not plan it. She did not want to impose a finished script on the superiors. – I only expressed my willingness to pursue my vocation outside Poland - she says. There are people who believe that heroism means leaving the country, and going to Africa, to the unknown. I would not like to make it so pathos. I was just ready for it - she adds. Sister Krystyna has no specified task in Kasisi, but she is indispensable. – There are five sisters from Poland here. I am the fifth, a spare tyre. But it is very necessary on the Zambian roads. This comparison with a tyre is not accidental, because at the wheel is sister Krystyna in her element. She helps with supply. She supports sister Mariola in resolving cases in Lusaka. She takes children to the hospital and give the children a lift to school. She is not afraid of driving in the capital, even though, apart from all the rules, you also need to be familiar with the habits and follow the principle of very limited confidence. She drives Toyota Hardbody through the bush every day. - I'm not the only driver of the car, but I am watching over the maintenance, and I know when the time comes to contact the service. Sister Krystyna is not afraid of any work: she is not only a driver but also …. a seamstress. She sews habits. – Women in Zambia don’t want to learn it somehow, that is why it's my job. The fabric we have from here, not from Poland - 100% polyester. When it is very hot, the material does not make life easy, but it is practical. It is easy to wash, dries quickly and easily pressed. And the veils are made of material that is imported for Hindus. They wear such white clothes. In Kasisi it is said that sister Krystyna finished two important schools: a sewing school and a cooking school. Fathers and sisters from various parts of Zambia remember her baking. She is also responsible for the post office and takes care of the chapel in Kasisi.
She came with her twin sister to Kasisi in 2000 - I feel like I have been here for only one day, one minute... I am happy here. Is it possible to feel bad between children? Sister Maria loves scream and commotion that accompany children playing. - No, not when they cry but when they shout for joy - she says. Sister Mary takes care of the children in St.Martin 's House. - There are positive and negative children. They live together to blur the divisions. We do everything not to make them feel different because of their disease. We want them to use their childhood completely. They should be children, not patients - she says. Her twin sister Janina, deals with younger children, it is always funny when the children grow and sister Maria looks after them. - Look how practical it is. They get used to her and then I take care of them. They are surviving the fear, because we are the same. Sister Maria is the superior of the Sisters. - Well, and so what?! There is no need to control anyone here... except for the children. All the sisters are responsible. The house works because each of us has duties and fulfils them properly. Sister Maria is also responsible for the laundry and for guided tours in the orphanage. - It is sometimes funny, too. I leave guests for a while, Jancia accidentally appears on the horizon on the other side of the orphanage, she disappears, I go back and see the terror painted on the guests’ faces.
– What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate – she said when the supervisors have been debating whether sisters should have gone to Zambia together. In 2000, sister Janina appeared also in Kasisi. - The children don’t confuse us, but once they make a mistake it is better for them. They do not miss us when the other is not near – she explains quite seriously. Sister Janina is responsible for the House of Hope and the youngest children. She watches over the kitchen with a large dining room.
She has been in Zambia for 65 years. Most often you can meet her in the chapel. It's hard to believe that the oldest sister in the orphanage takes care of the oldest boys. It would seem that they are the most rebellious, who "know everything better" and now they see themselves as adults. When they see Sister Jolanta, they stand at attention. - No, we do not fear Sister Jolanta, we respect her simply - they explain. Sister Jolanta watches over the boys. She encourages them also to develop new acrobatic systems. At her one request, they stay in a line and sing in English "Barka". - Sister Jolanta spends a lot of time with us. She listens to us and gives good advice. We love her.
- Do not take photos of me. Take photos of the children - she says modesty. This is Sister Faustyna. She deals with pre-schoolers who live in the Father Edmund's House. And though you cannot see her as often as the other sisters, running around the orphanage, she is a the indescribable support for everyone. – As soon as there is a problem due to the cultural differences, you have to go to Sister Faustyna. She always helps to understand the mentality of Zambians. Sister Faustyna takes care of a garden. The kitchen has never run out of bananas, oranges, eggplants and cabbage. Years ago, she was the director of the school. She has a great way with children. Today you can learn peace, prayer and humility from her.
She is the youngest sister in Kasisi. She is responsible for the House of Hope. She helps in the kitchen to prepare meals for children on special diets. She is always smiling. - I am happy; this is the place where smile appears automatically. There is no need to try to be cheerful. You are just happy. Sisters in Kasisi agree that her smile is unique: - Honest, very honest. The sister’s duty is also to bring help at the St. Martin's House. For those who do not go to school, she organizes classes. – Have already all of you written down the words on paper? So now we are colouring. Letters must be lively.
There is more than 250 children in Kasisi. - This is a very large orphanage. Unfortunately, with so many children it is very easy to feel that we are in a crowd, in a huge body. We want to be sure that every child feels special here - says Sister Mariola. A building, which does not seem very large, creates good atmosphere here. The orphanage occupies a large area scattered with small houses. Children with women called mamis live there. Mamis assist in the daily toilet, wash clothes, prepare meals, keep order and teach children the first English words, colours and numbers. They give advice to older children and make sure that the children go to school punctually. They teach the national culture and traditions. Thanks to them, in every house there is family atmosphere. There are nearly fifty of the women in the orphanage.