Cork group hosting cycle to buy tractors for local priest's mission in Africa
Teach a man to farm and you feed him for a lifetime - that could very well be the motto of one west Cork priest who has been passing on farming skills to locals in Mozambique for several decades.
Fr John Kingston from Clonakilty has been leading a Spiritan mission in Chimolo for the last number of years, teaching the importance of sustainable farming.
For many years the renowned Christmas Swim in Clonakilty has raised funds for Fr Kingston's important work.
Now the residents have come together in the form of West Cork Community Fundraising group to raise funds to help Fr Kingston's mission buy farm equipment for Mozambique people to use.
Organiser James Healy says life has been challenging for Fr John and that the community in Clonakilty is keen to give back to one of their most cherished sons.
"Life in Africa has been challenging for Fr Kingston, especially in 1985 when he was taken hostage for almost two weeks, shot and left for dead while working in Angola," says James.
"Despite this traumatic event, he returned to Angola, and subsequently continued his work in Mozambique, stating that returning was part of being faithful to his mission."
James says that the mission's church has been granted a significant plot of land (approximately 100 hectares) in Chimolo, which will be taken back by the state if it goes unused.
"This would result in the eviction and loss of livelihood of a number of locals," explains James.
"Currently the mission lacks the tools and machinery necessary to farm this land effectively, and a tractor would be a huge help."
Following the natural disasters in Mozambique in the last few months, the need to produce food and rebuild the local economy is more important than ever.
To raise funds for the project, the group are hosting a Head2Head charity cycle on Saturday, June 22 to the Old Head of Kinsale and back.
The starting point is in Clonakilty Showgrounds.
For more information visit westcorkfundraisingcommunity.com or call James on 0863383885.
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