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Friday, December 15, 2017

Going back home

Scorci di Yaounde
Going back home
My daily chronical goes on, event by event. Last Saturday I left Yaounde, Cameroon Capital, wanting to reach Douala, a city on the sea, or rather, where the river flows into the sea. I travel by coach, very comfortable, even if, to cover the distance of 250 km it takes four and a half hours. Sunday morning I make a stop for a visit to the Sisters of Mercy of Douala, then I go to the airport, and around 1.00 pm, with a little delay, I leave towards Bangui. Here I give myself a short moment for a quick hello to some friends, and also to see the excellent preparation of the working area for the production of clay bricks. The work will begin (I hope) in January. Monday morning at 6.30 am I'm at the airport. A long waiting time. I should leave towards Bouar with a flight of MINUSCA (the UN Peace Keepers) at 11.00 am and instead the departure is delayed at 1.30 pm.  The plane is a russian Antonov, as Russian is the crew and all the signs. At 2.30 I am in Bouar, and I can take the road back home 5.00 pm, having with me Alberto, who comes to Bozoum for a week as a dentist, reopening the dental office. This dental service has been kept open and operative for years by the Association "Friends for Central Africa". In these days the displaced persons are going back to Bocaranga. After almost two months, many families decided to return home. It will be hard (many will have to rebuild their house), but it is always better than living far away. We will try to continue to help them there too.


cantiere per la fabbricazione dei mattoni
le chantier pour la fabrication des briques

Arrivo a Bouar

Alberto, il dentista, all'opera

Saturday, December 9, 2017

A newly elected Bishop!

In primo piano il nuovo vescovo di Bouar, l'abbé Mirek

A newly elected Bishop!
Saturday, December 2nd, around noon appears on Facebook a news about our diocese, Bouar. The news is written in Polish language, but the automatic translation reveals to me that the Pope would have appointed Abbé Mirek as bishop of Bouar. I try to call him, and the busy phone line confirms that the news is probably true. And at 12.40 pm is the same newly elected Abbe’ Mirek telling me over the phone about his election. It's really great news.
The diocese of Bouar was created in 1978, and the first bishop was the Capuchin Father Armando Gianni, who led it for almost forty years. He built the cathedral and the seminary, and made that of Bouar one of the liveliest dioceses, thanks also to the presence of numerous religious and religious communities. After the diocese of Bangui, that of Bouar is the diocese with more students in Catholic schools. From November 2016 he was in Italy for health reasons, and his resignation was accepted in recent days. He was born in 1939. Abbé Mirek Gukwa, a Polish, is born in 1963. He has been in Central Africa since 1992, and after working as a parish priest in Bohong, and then as Director of the seminary, he has been Vicar General since 2006. During all these years of war and crisis, he has always been very close to all the parishes, and very active, together with other religious leaders, trying to reconcile the communities and sharing the comfort of a concrete help to everybody and everywhere it was needed. Really it’s a great news, and we're very happy with His nomination. For all of us it is a new page in the history of our diocese.
Tuesday morning I go to Bouar. Along the way I can stop and greet the new Bishop. Then I stop at Baoro, where we plan to open the school for catechists working in all parishes of the diocese.
These days I travel to Cameroon, to visit our young guys studying Theology in Yaounde, the Capital city. I find the roads in a better shape, but the journey is 1.000 km long from Bozoum), and, around 5.00/7.00 am I did drive in the fog.

il nuovo vescovo con il predecessore
le nouvel éveque avec son prédecessure

Cresime a Bozoum, con il vescovo Armando Gianni (2008)

il nuovo vescovo a Bozoum, per l'inaugurazione della chiesa, ottobre 2016

Membri del movimento Santa Rita
Membres du mouvement Sainte Rita

école catéchistes de Baoro




Saturday, December 2, 2017

National Holiday

National Holiday
Today, December 1st it’s the National Holiday: 59 years ago, this part of the French colony of French Equatorial Africa the Central Africa Republic was proclaimed. Two years later, in 1960, there will finally be Independence.
Among the "Founding Fathers" of Central Africa Republic, there is also a priest. Indeed, the first Central African priest, the Reverend Barthélémy Boganda. Although he died in those years (not being able to see the realization of the dream that had contributed enormously), many things remained, due to his intelligence and his vision. Among others, the motto of the Republic: "UNITE - DIGNITE - TRAVAIL" (Unity, Dignity, Job).
Preceded by a long preparation (especially for the "defilé" - the parade -), the party of December 1st is one of the most heartfelt. The day before we were able to distribute the new school uniforms to the refugee children. In the afternoon, in the presence of some Authorities and a large number of people, we celebrated Mass to entrust the Nation to God, asking the gift of peace.
Today, Friday, December 1st, there was the great parade, attended by all the schools, Associations and various Groups.
A nice moment of celebration, so much needed!


les majorettes

Friday, November 24, 2017

At work!

Il riso di Bozoum
le riz de Bozoum

At work!
On Sunday, November 19th, Father Odilon, a newly ordained young Carmelite priest, is here at Bozoum to celebrate his First Mass. It is a moment that the whole parish community and Father Odilon were waiting for.
This week I go to take a look to the rice fields. It's a visit I always enjoy, kind of tonic for my hope while at the same time it’s a pleasure and encouragement seeing these areas cultivated with order and passion. Is with me a Councilor of the Prime Minister, who sees the fields for the first time, and He is amazed for such a vitality and beautiful work. This year the farmers feel encouraged by the opportunity to sell rice to the World Food Fund (WFP), which is then given to various schools. Because of this, instead of the usual 14 hectares, this year they did cultivate 32 hectares of rice!
On Tuesday I go to Bocaranga. I leave at 5.30 am, and after 3 hours and a half of a severely damaged road and 125 km, I’m in Bocaranga. I am amazed by the tranquility I find: the villages are full of activities, and some signs warn that it is forbidden to go around in the city with weapons. The market is full of life, and the schools are open. To me it seems almost a miracle! The city had been attacked by rebels in late September, and most of the people had fled (nearly 4,000 arrived in Bozoum). In early October, the UN Peace Keepers had finally intervened with a military operation, which caused the rebels to run away. Even though the rebels aren’t too far away, there is at least some peace and a bit of much needed tranquility.
I’m here in Bocaranga with Caritas employees and a "refugee woman" who had fled to Bozoum. The visit is important because the refugee people can see firsthand the real situation and then decide whether to return to Bocaranga or not. My visit here in Bocaranga allows me to understand how we can act as Caritas. Many people are giving us a very important help (Caritas Germany, Siriri.Org and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic, the parish of Cassina Amata in Italy ...) and this will allow us to work in many fields. First of all, the school: over 200 teachers from 64 elementary schools will receive a small monthly contribution, as encouragement and stimulus. Then our caring for the sick, the elderly and for those who have come back and have to build up a new home.
And, if we succeed, in January 2018, we will manage to have once more the Bozoum Agricultural Fair. Through the Fair farmers and cooperatives will be able, taking part, to have an opportunity to sell their products.