Women of the Diocese of Paramaribo were the main organisers of a three-day youth festival September 9–11 in Asewa Otono, Paramaribo under the theme Share in my joy, I am your shepherd. Over 100 youth participated.
A report by Cheryl Jacott-Daal in diocesan monthly OMHOOG said that the youth festival was an intensive, varied, and fun programme. The purpose of the festival, Jacott-Daal outlined was to build a good relationship with Jesus the Good Shepherd.
She mentioned there were “several well-known speakers”, and room for the young people to participate in sports and creative pursuits.
An expert from the Dermatology Department spoke about a game she referred to as ‘brush-brush’. “All the young people started laughing loudly when she used this metaphor. It then became clear to me that they immediately understood which game it was about,” Jacott-Daal said.
Men who play this game without a condom with their ‘brush’ (genitals) can contract or transmit sexually-transmitted diseases such as HIV, syphilis, and warts.
The youth were shown photos of anonymous people with venereal diseases. “It was a shock for the participants to hear that the photos were taken in Suriname,” Jacott-Daal said.
The workshop ‘Measuring’ consisted of two parts: a sexual education meeting and measuring sugar and blood pressure values and weight.
The youth were reminded that persons who are overweight can suffer from all kinds of ailments. Some get pain in their knees; others may develop diabetes. There were other workshops on playing musical instruments, drama and acting provided by On Stage; “listening to the voice of Jesus the Good Shepherd” and learning to dance.
Speaker Sr Maria Boomiki foe Karmel (Mary Flower of Carmel) SSVM, told the young people to stay away from drugs and pornography. These things, Sr Boomiki said, grieve the heart of God.
She said that youth should not wait for Bishop Karel Choennie and Vicar General Fr Esteban Kross to tell “lost sheep about Jesus”.
“We have to do it ourselves,” Sr Boomiki said, adding that “lost sheep are not far from us…. Lost sheep are sometimes our housemates, or sisters and brothers in the Church.”
At the mini fair, the Women’s Rights Centre told young people: ‘No naki ma taki’ —No form of violence can be justified.
Jacott-Daal shared that young women were told by a speaker they should choose a real man and not a ‘caiman’. “A real man shows respect for women and is faithful to God. Caimans walk out, punch, kick or humiliate women.”
The diocese can look back with satisfaction on a very successful activity as the Asewa Otono hall was packed and the youth learned a lot, the report concluded.