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Covid-19 kills Brother Sandro, in a place of negationists

Bonfanti, after 27 years of Kenya, died for the virus in Tanzania

15-02-2021 by redazione

In Meru, where he still helped many families from a distance, they remember him as a blessed presence. Brother Sandro Bonfanti, a lay missionary of the Order of the Consolata, although he had Kenya in his heart and spent 28 years there, from 1973 to 2001, left two days ago for another African country, neighbouring Tanzania, where Covid-19 "does not exist" and where he was therefore unable to receive adequate treatment and was delayed in receiving ventilation for what local doctors described as "a lung infection".
Born in 1949, originally from the province of Lecco, Brother Sandro, after studying mechanics and construction and with a good knowledge of English, had accepted his first mission in Africa in 1973 to run a building and carpentry school in the area on the slopes of Mount Kenya.
After working in a number of Consolata missions and designing and building a church and a hostel, he returned to Italy to care for his ailing mother, but without giving up his help to his confreres. After another experience in Liberia, he returned to East Africa in 2009, to Ikonda, in the heart of Tanzania, where he runs the pharmacy of the local hospital, creating a distribution network of medicines for all the missions within a radius of over 200 kilometres.
We spoke to him a few days ago," says Father Gerardo Martinelli, Superior of the Consolata in Nairobi, "because he was still very active in relations with the Kenyan communities of Meru, as well as being fundamental to the mission in Ikonda. His untimely death took us by surprise and saddened us, also because it occurred in a country without the necessary attention for the Coronavirus'.
This is indeed the "case" of Brother Sandro Bonfanti. In Tanzania, as is well known, since April 2020 the government has not sent any data on the Covid-19 emergency, and according to Tanzanian President John Magufuli, the virus has been eradicated thanks to the prayers and natural cures that his people use.
So much so that not only are there no isolation wards in hospitals, but there are also no specific therapies for what is hardly diagnosed as Sars-2 and which is classified as a lung infection. At the hospital in Ikonda, according to reports to the Consolata, the lung ventilators are working, but Bonfanti arrived there with a very low level of oxygenation.
So Brother Sandro, with energy and passion to spare, did not make it at 71 and will be buried in the land of Africa that he loved so much and for which he literally gave his life.

(photo courtesy Consolata Missions)

TAGS: consolata kenyamissionari kenyapadre kenya

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