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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Bozoum Farm Trade Fair. 8th Edition.

 Went on until today, Sunday. Yesterday we had a grand celebration (almost like the Olympics!)with big parade of the co-ops representatives (what a great look of joy and worthiness on their faces!) followed by several speeches and opening of the Fair. Here were 38 official stalls and some less official. Such a crowds of people! In the afternoon we visited the gardens in the village: they are really little masterpieces of clean, proper, beautiful work. These people made an heaven out of such a small river: the land of the gardens! Today, after Mass, the fair kept on going with the opening of the Agricultural Stock Market Exchange, where the farmers that had big quantities of produce (such as corn, rice, sesame, peanut, millet etc.) could introduce samples to be sold afterwards. Finally at 4pm we had the closing ceremony, with prizes for best display, best rice producer (the winner this year is 11.5 tons per hectare!!!) 125 coops participated to this event; sale turnover was over 40 millions CFA (more than 60.000 euros), way better than last year! And the Fair of the Farmer Pride reached its goal!


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

a lot of rice and a nice thanks

Two days ago I drove home the usual 750 km on those terrible roads… I made just a quick stop in Bouar to begin the preparation of the fair we’ll do on the 18th and 19th of February. then I drove North, to check the three working sites for the new saving banks in Koui, Bocaranga e Ngaundaye.

Once I came back in Bozoum, Father Norberto told me someone brought me 2 bags of rice and a lovely rooster for me! He also handed in a letter, in which one of the guys responsible for one of the rice co-ops (groupement) was thanking me for the training we did, that helped him to harvest an exceptional crop. That’s why I got the present!!! I must say I was really touched by this! He sent me more than 200 kg of unrefined rice (risone), it’s roughly about 75 euro, two months his salary!!! 
a couple of years ago we introduced a new technique  for rice cultivation that an Italian agronomist from Dronero presented to me. It was first invented in Madagascar, by a French Jesuit (what a small world!)
Now we are resuming the trainings and we begin to see the first good effects,  the rice harvest  has set an outstanding record: in Bocarangua they managed to produce 11 tons per hectare (Italian average per hectare is 5.6 tons; here usually is around 2 tons…).It’s great when people are thanking you! It’s not happening very often…but it feels great. After all it hardly happens around, in Italy, or elsewhere for that matter not even at home between family members… Few years ago I went to say Mass in Bangarem,  village 70 km far from Bouar (2 hours drive, then pirogue to cross the river and another half our walk…) I was with Father Carlo, who previously worked in that area, some twenty years ago and actually built the foundation of the chapel. At the end of the Mass, an elderly man came towards us with a beautiful rooster and he said “Father Carlo, 20 years ago you were here and you drove me to Bouar (70 km) when I was sick because I suffered from strangulated hernia. They operated me and I survived the surgery. Since then we haven’t seen each other and I never and the chance to say thanks. So here it is, thank you”.
 I think If we could simply be a little more grateful to God and to people….we could be happier and more serene!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy new year!

Happy new year!

Ended the year 2011, full of so many things here in Bozoum!

The agricultural fair in February, the work of building the middle school and high school St.Augustine (from January to October), Easter with his baptism, the beginning of the rainy season, with the agricultural year, the work in the schools, the of our clinic, the opening of the dental office, the beginning in the Listening Centre of Caritas, the opening of the first branch of the Savings Bank, the beginning of school in September, and the opening of the catechism, and the feast for the
40th of arrival of the Carmelites in Bozoum, and finally Christmas!

How can we not thank the Lord?

It is true that there have been difficulties and problems ....

But it is also true that for a Christian, a new year is simply a new time of grace that God gives us ...

and then, Happy New Year!

and a gift: the words of the Pope's Vespers yesterday, 31 December:

Since the Day of the Lord’s Nativity, the fullness of time has reached us. So there is no more room for anxiety in the face of time that passes, never to return; now there is room for unlimited trust in God, by whom we know we are loved, for whom we live and to whom our life is directed as we await his definitive return. Since the Saviour came down from heaven, man has ceased to be the slave of time that passes to no avail, marked by toil, sadness and pain. Man is son of a God who has entered time so as to redeem it from meaninglessness and negativity, a God who has redeemed all humanity, giving it everlasting love as a new perspective of life.