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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

little satisfactions...

Little satisfaction…

Every now and then, when life offers some satisfaction it’s great to appreciate it and be happy and thankful
Sunday last we celebrated the end term of the orphan Centre “Arc en Ciel” (rainbow) After the sportive games, football matches and cross country racesin the afternoon the kids presented to their relatives with drama performances, dances and gags and arts and crafts project they made during the school year. These are important activities they learn such as make fishnets, wickers, baskets, drawing, clay figurines, bracelets and straw hats…
Interesting fact: gags were representing 3 court cases: a drunken husband, a dad who doesn’t send his kids to school and a widow driven away from his husband’s family.
Through laughs and jokes we had a great occasion to learn values and how to react against oppressions. Little satisfaction!
the orphan Centre “Arc en Ciel” hosts almost  200 children who lost their parents, that live with relatives as usually happens in the enlarged African family.
Often granparents have few energies and even less the uncles as they have already their kids. Therefore the Centre comes in help with daycare. In the morning children go to different schools (and a tutor passes by to check on them) then at 12 they go to the Centre for lunch, prepared by two alternating mom teams.
In the afternoon there are learning activities, sports and art and crafts projects to introducing them to professions. In the meantime, those with medical needs are in care at the nun’s cabinet and at 5 pm everyone goes back to their homes.
On Monday I visited with Hyppolite, 16 years old kid, paralyzed from waist down. Some friends from Prague (from SIRIRI association) are here on a trip: Ludmila and Kweta e Martin, that are making a documentary on Czech humanitarian activity in CAR. We brought Hyppolite a new wheelchair. This will help him being way more independent, he was very happy, he immediately gave it a try and he was soon managing really well. We’re also preparing papers to get him to Italy for further examinations and medical care.
Public schools, finally reopened the 3rd of june. Attendance number keeps growing. 140 alumni the first week, 1699 the second, 2499 the third. (always one to make it a whole…next time I’ll go to make it an even number!) Little satisfaction…
On Thursday I went to our secondary school teacher’s meeting and today, 22nd of June we handed out report cards. A prize to each first of the classes and a working stage to the older one during summer break and bye until September!
In the afternoon I went with friends from Parague to Risicolo Centre. It’s sowing time. It make me happy to see their improvement. Since 3 years we’re training them on new tecniques coming from Madagascar. This innovation allowed  rice production from 2 to 11 tons per hectare. (Italian average is 5.6)
Nestor a young man that grows rice since few years with this tecnique showed me his crops all satisfied, giving out on those that still use the old way, with same amount of work and mediocre results….. Little satisfaction…
As per the rebel situation…few updates. Thursday morning as I was in St.Augustin, our secondary school, two armed men arrived on a motorbike.
I came out, it was the rebel chief and another minion! I said hello and kindly (well, almost) asked them to get out. No weapons in the school….
They muttered and went out of our yard then said “it has been a while since we saw you, just wanted to say hi!”
I was touched (?!?!?!?!) thanked them and then he asked me for a note pad. I say I’ll look into that and bring it to him (I wonder what needs he has for it, as cigarette skin it’s too thick!)
Friday morning went into town and saw 2 rebels on a bike, call them and gave them the notepad for their boss, and to make sure I wrote my cell number so he would call back once he got it…because I don’t trust them for a second. One of them said “how come? Don’t you trust us? and he added the other man on the bike is the secretary (?!?!?!!?) so I asked if he could write…..he replied affirmatively….
"Will it be true or won't?"…..Off we go!


Monday, June 17, 2013

Finally some good news!

I’m back after a couple of weeks…so the friends that translate my posts took a small break (thanks to Chiara for English, Ludmila, Terezie and Martin for Czech, to p.Juan for Spanish, Regina for German!).

so let’s move on one step at the time….Sunday afternoon i set off to Bangui, the Capital: 400km faraway, ten of rebels barriers. It’s always a bet, as they have no regulation, often being Chadians or Sudanese they barely speak Sango or French.
When asked “Where are you going?” I answer that is none of their business. Usually they get annoyed and reply it’s their job. And I reply back that once they know where I go can they actually guarantee my safety? So most times they have enough and they let me go.

Getting back to Bangui after 4 months, with everything that happened is quite striking: there are few cars around (most have been stolen and taken off to Chad, others are still hidden away) and barely anyone in the streets. Several military from FOMAC (an African multinational force)others from France and many rebels still around….
Tension and state of uncertainty are still there. A friend of mine, whom in 2008 I went to argue against rebels with, became counselor to president. He’s still doesn’t feel safe to sleep at home, as rebels went several times there looking for him….

On Monday morning in Bangui I went to a meeting with the Archbishop and the religious leaders. There were about 50 of us, Muslims, protestants, Catholics. All together to work on peace and mediation. It was mostly about training, but foremost to gather with other religions to talk, exchange information and share thoughts on this war time. I was sitting between a priest from Bangassou and an imam from Bangui.
This meeting came from the worry that having many Muslims here now, there could be a violent reaction towards all of them indiscriminately.
There are actual concerns on this Islamic advance (that brought looting and attacks on Christians and churches), also there is a risk that people, tired of plundering and some Muslim getting rich,  will be violent against them.(

I spent Wednesday doing chores, several shops have been pillaged and many ONGs closed down and fired personnel….

On Thursday i went to the airport to pick up Ludmila, Květa and Martin. Ludmila works for Siriri, an association in Prague that helps us with the orphans, the disabled and education, Květa and Martin are Czech TV operators and they are here for a documentary project on the Czech humanitarian help here in CAR.
Our trip was fairly smooth. We stopped in a Bossembele, 160km far from the capital. Here there was a nuns community, with schools and disabled Centre. Sadly with the sisters leaving on the 22nd of March, rebels ransacked everything. Really striking!
Here in Bozoum I got a good news: the primary school representative came with the report  for the second week since the reopening. There were only 140 kids in the beginning, now we’re counting 1699! Finally some good news!