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Saturday, January 13, 2018

Visiting friends

Visiting friends
Here I am. In the city of Paoua north of Bozoum, 130 km from here, tens of thousands of people are fleeing from rebel fighting. What was a relatively calm area has become once more an outbreak of violence. For now, there are no fleeing people towards Bozoum yet, but the tension is high.
Sunday afternoon I go to Bouar and Baoro. On early Monday morning I go to Bangui. In theory at 9.30 we have a meeting in our Carmel convent, with the FAO. But ... I’m the first reaching the meeting place, though coming from 400 km away, well before of those living here in Bangui.
Tuesday I keep busy in meeting various Government Ministries in order to prepare the Bozoum Agricultural Fair, which is now approaching (26-28 January 2018).
Wednesday morning I welcome at Bangui airport Father Davide Sollami, Enrico Massone, Paolo Silvestro together with Chiara, Ada and Anna. All of them are here to get to know the environment and give help. In the afternoon I get a phone call: the Caritas car, which I sent to the North to prepare the Fair, ended in a car accident. Thank God, there are no wounded. Unfortunately, the car, I have to say very old, companion of many missions of help to many people, will be thrown away.
In the evening we welcome to the Carmel the new bishop of Bouar, Mirek Gucva. At the end of the dinner we give him a beautiful statue of the Child Jesus of Prague as sign of protection and prayer.
Thursday morning we leave towards Bozoum together with Paolo, Chiara, Anna and Ada. Despite yet another flat tire, the driving isn’t too bad, and after 7 and a half hours we arrive in Bozoum.
I wish everyone good work!

Orti al Carmel a Bangui
Jardins potager au Carmel à Bangui

Allevamento bovino al Carmel
élévage de boeufs au Carmel

I semi delle palme da olio

La vecchia macchina della Caritas, in gennaio 2014
la vieille voiture de Caritas, en janvier 2014

Il nuovo vescovo di Bouar
le nouvel eveque de Bouar

Monday, January 8, 2018

Bonne Année - Happy New Year!

Bonne Année - Happy New Year!
In Central Africa (and not only) wishing “Bonne Année” (Happy New Year) is a refrain never ending. It starts after Christmas going on until March.
At the end of the year came to  visit us, together with Father Marco Poggi, the six Indian Sisters living in Bouar at the Yolé, With them, Saturday afternoon, I go to visit the rice fields. And they, given their background, are great rice experts. They verify, taste and appreciate.
On Sunday, the liturgy offers us the celebration of the Holy Family of Nazareth. At the end of the Mass, we entrust all our families to the blessing of Joseph, Mary and Jesus.
The New Year begins relatively quiet. In the city there is a lot of excitement: people singing and dancing, beer, games, a few fireworks. On Sunday evening we meet in a large number for a moment of prayer and adoration, during which we give thanks to God for the year 2017 He gave to us, and we entrust Him our lives, the parish and the Country asking for his blessing during the 2018. And we pray that it will be a year of grace anyhow.
And Wednesday, January 3rd  I go to Bocaranga. The situation is improved a lot. In these past weeks, about 150 families, after three months of refugee life, left Bozoum to return to Bocaranga.  On the occasion of Christmas, thanks to the help of the Czech Republic, we were able to distribute 8,800 soaps, more than 7,000 packages of coffee, 5 tons of salt and 4,400 kg of rice shared among more than 1,800 families. And the distribution was made by the various churches and mosques present in the area, reaching in this way a very large number of people, without discrimination.
And this too is a very Happy New Year!

Andd here you can see the last "Journal of Bozoum" :

Riso e orti
le riz et les jaridns potagers


Toilettes con scuola annessa (dovrebbe essere il contrario...)
Toilettes avec école annéxée (ça devrait etre le contraire...)

Incendi in savana (stagione secca)
Incendies en brousse (dans la saison sèche)

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Christmas 2017

Christmas 2017
Once more it’s Christmas: great celebration all over the world. In Bozoum Christmas celebration has always something special. As for me Christmas reminds of snow and cold. Here instead we celebrate it with 35 degrees Celsius in the shade (even if at night the temperature drops below 15 degrees Celsius). But forgetting about the weather, the Christmas atmosphere is more about the joy for adults and, above all, for children, the lights, the colors, the cribs, songs and dances. And the enchantment and wonder of that Child never cease to amaze young and seniors. Christmas shines not so much because of the lights and the gifts, but essentially for the Light and for the Gift which is Jesus, the Son of God made Man. With Him, every man acquires a unique dignity. On Sunday 24th we began the preparation with the morning Mass, and then the celebration of the Birth of Jesus. Given the climate and the usual ways of living, we celebrated the Midnight Mass at 6.30 pm. A large crowd of believers, a well prepared Choir, and the Protagonist, He, Jesus, at the center of all our attention, of all our hopes. On the 25th, Christmas Day, we gathered at the church for the great Mass: a single celebrant priest, but 50 altar servers and about twenty dancers! In addition to the joy of the celebration, there were also 4 children receiving the Sacrament of Baptism (including twins, Antoine and Joseph). Many kids came to church with a toy, a small gift to be shared, sign and memory of the great gift which is Jesus.  After the Mass, songs and dances go really wild. The Christmas day and the following are quiet. Schools are closed, and activities are a bit slowed. On Wednesday I go to Bouar to take part at a meeting of the leaders of Catholic schools. We need to decide how to be ready for the consecration of the new bishop, but also to discuss the school year situation. Some schools began with almost two months of delay, due to the clashes. 
But as always we keep going on.


le danzatrici liturgiche
les danseuses liturgiques

Uno dei gemelli battezzati
un des jumeaux baptisés

Riunione scuole a Bouar
Réunion écoles à Bouar

Friday, December 22, 2017

Getting close to Christmas

Getting close to Christmas
Even in Central Africa these days, close to Christmas’s celebration, are very busy. But not because of lights, rush for last shopping or stuff like that.
On Sunday we celebrated the feast of St. John of the Cross. Together with St. Teresa of Avila, he is the Founder of the Discalced Carmelites. One of the chapels of the city is dedicated to him, and on Sunday we celebrate here an outdoors Mass.
Monday morning, from 8.30 am to 1.00 pm, I meet the professors of our High School St. Augustine, to have a conversation about the results of the first quarter. It is a precious work, with some disappointments, but also with many joys, especially when a kid begins to enjoy studying and riches positive results.
In the afternoon I leave going to Bouar. And on Tuesday we are together with Father Stefano, which celebrates 25th anniversary of his priesthood. At the celebration are present almost all the Carmelite Fathers of Central Africa. It is a beautiful moment of gratitude to God and to Father Stefano for this gift. After the celebration of the Eucharist we have a long meeting, and only in the late afternoon we return to Bozoum.
Wednesday afternoon I keep myself busy with the sick of a Bozoum area. I visit them, I listen to the Confession giving them the Communion. It is moving to see how the faces of these old and lonely people shine because of that simple visit. For them the real gift is Jesus visiting them.
Upon returning I meet the children of our orphanage Centre “Arc en Ciel”, I celebrate for the approaching Christmas. The crib, dances, some simple present like a small bag of biscuits, a soap, a whistle, really little things, but for a child it's a great gift. We adults certainly have something to learn!
Thursday I accompany Isaac to Bozoum airport. Almost three weeks ago he had been hit by a motorcycle, and he had a fractured arm and leg. The fracture of the leg is severe, and requires surgery. He is blind, and that very morning he came to me to ask for a little help. Thanks to the International Red Cross he can go by plane to Bangui, where they will take care of him. I’m impressed by his smile that says so much! Impressed also by the people who did take care of him and will continue to do so. 
It's almost Christmas!

Non si direbbe, ma è un fungo

Festa a St Jean

Riunione insegnanti


un po' di scuola dopo scuola, in quartiere
un peu d'école au quartier

Festa di Natale all'Arc en Ciel
Fete de Noel au Centre Orphelins Arc en Ciel

Partenza verso Bangui