Father Ariel Tampus SVD

Learning To Be A Shepherd In Zimbabwe

By Father Ariel Tampus SVD

Father Ariel, from Cebu, was one of 14 ordained to the priesthood on 9 March in Divine Word Seminary, Tagaytay City, and is hoping to return soon to Zimbabwe. Ten of his group have been assigned on mission overseas. http://svdbotswana.home.pl/ , the website of the province of the Society of the Divine Word that includes Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe, has a longer version of his article. Father Ariel did his high school studies in Marigondon High School, Mactan, Cebu, and is a graduate of Cebu Normal University. He taught for three years in Michael Learning School, Talisay City, Cebu, before entering the seminary.

‘I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd lays down his life for the sheep’ (Jn10:11).Jesus’ parable of the Good Shepherd is one I can really relate to. Maybe it’s because shepherding is an everyday experience in Zimbabwe, a goat, sheep and cattle-raising country. Abelusi, shepherds, are everywhere, taking good care of the animals.

Student once again

I smile every time I remember my one-month stay in a village to practice the Ndebele language and to experience the life and culture of the people. I stayed with a very religious, simple family who treated me as a kin and made me feel at home. Every morning I joined the children in school. I spent a week with grade one pupils and a week with grade two. Then I went to grade four for two weeks, the first time ever I was ‘instantly promoted.’ This helped me to experience once again how a small child learns to speak. Learning a new language, in this case Ndebele, is fun but very humbling. Like a small child, I was very dependent on my elders and teachers. Even my grade one classmates were also my ‘elders’ and teachers.