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Saturday, February 6, 2016

Quiet life in Bozoum

fiori selvatici
fleurs de la brousse

Quiet life in Bozoum
I could finally have a week almost peaceful in Bozoum, no travel or others stressing commitments. To be honest I began the week with slight malaria, but thank God, it was very weak and has gone soon.
During these days several works here in Bozoum are going on. On one side Lia and Massimiliano are painting part of the warehouse, while at the same time we continue the great work in order to enlarge the church, work guided (sweating a lot!) by the very talented Enrico Massone. This is a real big job, which will reinforce the church structure and, above all, will enable a greater capacity. The work is now progressing, but we must also take into account the slowness of transportation for the delivery of concrete and iron. But we are positive and let's move on!
On Thursday arrives among us the young friar Fr. Andrea from Arenzano (Genoa) together with Steeven a young guy.
No lack of reinforcements and it's so nice to see in everyone the enthusiasm and the will to cooperate taking generously part in the work.

Lia e Massimilano al lavoro

Manghi in fiore
les fleurs du manguier

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Agricultural Fair.2

Agricultural Fair.2
Sunday was the second day of the Agricultural Exhibition in Bozoum.
The 145 cooperatives participating to the Fair continued in their products exhibition, selling them with good results: the total sale this year rose to approximately 45,000 Euros, compared to 30,000 of last year!!! On Sunday morning, after the celebration of two Masses, I went with some visitors to have a look to the rice fields in Bozoum. In the afternoon I’m back to the Fair site. The stands are empty: all the merchandise have been sold out. At 4.00pm we have a last moment of celebration with the announcement and recognition for the Exhibition Competition (the best exhibitors) and the gardens Competition winners. A lot of people followed this celebrating moment, congratulating the winners, many of which went to receive their award happily dancing.
On Monday we make order, and I am very proud of my staff: at 10.00am everything was pretty much removed and in order! On Monday we begin also a stage for about fifty people, to help them grow in social cohesion helping them to face with courage the challenges of peace.
On Wednesday and Thursday I’m in Baoro, 175 km from Bozoum, for a meeting with my Carmelites Friars debating on the economy. We analyze the accounts of each house and all their realities. We try to help as much as possible our people, yes, but also with careful management of what the providence entrusts us, through the help of many good people.

les medaglie
les medailles

La mamma di Hyppolite, che ha vinto il PRIMO premio per gli orti!
la maman de Hyppolite, qui a gagné le premier prix pour les jardins potagers

Aratro dono del Baramo (Cuneo)

Formazione sulla coesione sociale
Formation sur la Cohésion sociale

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Bozoum Fair 2016

Bozoum Fair 2016
Are nearly two months that we are working, meeting cooperatives and preparing the organization, and here we are: this morning we opened the Fair of Bozoum!
It is a unique event in the panorama of Central Africa Republic! There are 145 cooperatives, coming from almost all over the region. Some of them covered 220 km to reach the location. The Fair is held by Caritas, with financial support of Cordaid, a Caritas of Holland. The theme is always the same: “The farmer pride” (paysan orgueil). It’s always a surprise and a great joy to see the pride on the faces of so many men and women displaying and selling the products of their work! We take care of everything: transportation by truck and the stands.
Each one of us is at work: who assembles, who keep the ground clean, who take care of refreshing the gardens or caring of the sound amplifier. Even the students of our high school Saint Augustin do their best in welcoming and supporting all participants.
On Saturday morning the kick off of the event: a small parade, a few speeches, visiting the stands, which are gorgeous! The cooperatives are busy on organizing the show of the products. Very beautiful colors and even some banana and coffee plants! In the afternoon we head to visit the gardens. This Fair is an initiative that we launched to develop farming in the city, helping people to create an opportunity to enrich the table with fresh vegetables and to earn some money.
The farmers pride: faces, colors, flavors, scents and sounds wanting to reward all of them after the silent and the exhausting work of thousands of farmers. It’s also an opportunity to show the positive face of agriculture helping people to believe in themselves as well as in working the fields.

Il bacino con i pesci
un petit bassin avec les possons

Sr.Christine e lo stand dei bambini dell'Arc en Ciel

La Giuria al lavoro
le Jury au travail

Monday, January 18, 2016

Here I’m, finally.

scene normali sulle nostre strade

Here I’m, finally.
I apologize for my last week silence. I was traveling! I have been for almost a week in Italy, to celebrate a wedding and attend a meeting with other Carmelite Fathers in Arenzano (Genoa). Wednesday, January 6st, (after a quick visit to Baoro on my way to Bangui) I left for Casablanca, Morocco, and the next day I was in Turin. Here I met Fr. Giustino waiting for me. He is my Provincial Superior. He drove me to our convent of Santa Teresa, and after lunch he took me up to Cuneo. Here I greeted my family and some friends.
On Friday afternoon I went to Milan, to meet friends of Cassina Amata, and work a bit with Eugenio, the architect, about some changes to the extension project of the church of Bozoum. On Saturday morning I leave for Creta, a small village near Castel San Giovanni (PC). Today is the wedding day of Davide Stefanini and Alberta Santini: Davide has been in Central Africa for many years now, as well as Alberta. They work with various NGOs, and they give the best of themselves helping those in need with their own various projects and initiatives. I celebrate the Wedding in a small church but so beautiful. A great number of relatives were present with lots of friends. Most of them I have known in Central Africa, when they came visiting and working with us for longer or shorter periods. After lunch, organized in a lovely farmhouse, surrounded by items and pictures from Central Africa, (even the cake was themed!), I did go back to Cuneo.
On early Monday I travel towards Liguria. Around 7am I meet Emanuela, Alessandra etc., the family that is hosting Hyppolite for several months. I hug Hyppolite, who is on his way to follow the many legal practices. He looks much better and strengthened; thanks to the treatments, but also to the sport of fencing which he began some time ago. He seems to succeed very well! Long live Zorro! We have coffee together, and then I go in a hurry to Arenzano. Here I find thirty Brothers gathered for a Plenary Council, a meeting of Carmelites in which we discuss some aspects of our life. I’m here to present the situation of the Mission, especially after the visit of Pope Francis. In the afternoon I’m back to Cuneo, from where the following morning, Tuesday January 12, four of us leave: I, Paul Silvestro, Lia Milanesio and Massimiliano Botta, all natives of Cuneo and its surroundings! After a technical stop in Casablanca, we fly to Bangui, where we arrive on Wednesday at 7 am. Unfortunately some suitcases did not arrive.  After a meeting in the capital, on Thursday morning we travel toward Baoro and Bouar, where we arrive in the evening. The day after we held a meeting for the preparation of some projects with Caritas, and in the afternoon we are back on the roads for the last 250 km. At 7.15pm we finally reach Bozoum, just in time for dinner! We find Fr. Enrico and Fr.Norberto welcoming us, and after arranging our guests I go finally for a much needed rest.
See you again next week for the great agricultural fair in Bozoum!

il presepe di Santa Teresa a Torino
la crèche de notre eglise à Turin

sulla strada tra Bossemptele e Bozoum
sur la route entre Bossemptele et Bozoum