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.( https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B8xHb5_hvSzRMUxhSmFMeXlhOGM/edit?usp=sharing)
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!