Easter Sunday mt cousin called me and told me (strictly Piemonte dialect, neh!) ) “Fate nen masè, pitost ven via” (don’t get killed, just get away from there)
I told him everything was ok, even if it wasn’t…
When a country is in a situation as Central Africa is, anything goes…rebels conquered one village after the next one and all around they plundered and destroyed
When there’s turmoil, first to run away are civil authorities and military…same ones that until yesterday were bullying the weakest now are small and invisible….
Gone are the doctors, the nurses, the teacher… Soon the village was left undefended.
There’s an unreal silence, everyone prepares for the worse….every noise is a suspicion…a motor engine scares you, a barking dog…who could that be? Rumors spreading….rebels are there, here, out and about, did this and that. They look for Father Aurelio, they want the car….
Then shotguns begin, heart beats uncontrollably, stomachache,…it’s like if the body let the fear get it, while the mind tries to reason…even if it’s not always possible.
And when things get worse, when you realize you’re one of the few ‘known characters’ left….you ask yourself why…
Because people need a Father, a Mother, a Sister. Even if you don’t do much, just being there gives hope and helps. It’s like being there for a sick friend or a sleeping child. They know you’re there. And your presence there is the sign of Another Presence….
Because you know if you leave, all you worked for, all those years could be destroyed: hospitals, schools, agricultural co-ops, mutual aid bank. And you fear there won’t be any strength nor means to start all over from the beginning….you don’t care much if it was you doing it, but in this there are years of work with people, education and training you saw slowly growing risk to be totally halted.
Because you know He is always at your side, even when the boat seems to drown
Because every now and then there’s a man or a woman saying thank you for staying! Or a child, that could make it to school, despite everything he looks at you and smiles…
Therefore, in spite of your fear and stomachache, sleepless nights, you understand you’re doing something good and important: your giving Jesus hand to those who need it most!
Bravery? A little, however it’s full of fear. Also of the Presence of Someone who never leaves us!
These are photos of the Savings Bank that we opened in Ndim (160 km from Bozoum) a year ago. Today was attacked by the rebels ... Thank God, and the intervention of a Capuchin friar who speaks Arabic, have been blocked before forcing the safe (which was empty anyway .....)
Here instead is Bozoum, on Easter Sunday ...
and ... yesterday we reopened the schools .... in spite of the rebels! This is also the resurrection!