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Tuesday, October 29, 2013


Even on this week we had our share of hindrances and news.

Bozoum's public schools are open, within the end of week 2 the students were 3753

it's a great success, speaks volumes! and this includes parents confronting fears, kids finding the joy of going back to school again, teachers restarting the educational activities, and friends and donors helping out. and in addition to this great news, here's another one! After a week of intensive training for the teachers, we also began the school for the refugees, that's 700 of them!

In Herba too (the village where on the 20th sept they burned more than 200 houses) i got a good news. I had been there the previous week and there was still a lot of fear and resignation. Last friday though, as soon as i got out of the car i heard the kids voices from the classroom! their parents had mown the grass and prepared the school, and 3 teachers are set off to begin lessons!

this weekend we did the third PAM food distribution to 8500 refugees.

and on Friday, finally ONU arrived in order to open a case of human rights violations (tortures,killings,iligal arrests) that the rebels have been doing and still do here. this ONU presence gives us hope. hope that the violence wall around us can fall crumbling down

Unfortunately in Bouar there have been attacks. Frustrated and tired of this violence some local got to weapons and stroke this attack.Now we fear the rebels will avenge this attack on the population, as they normally would do...

We're trying to stop this horrible situation that has been going on for 7 months now. Friends are petitioning this to the International Court House, requesting and to open a case on the RCA  Authoritues. Please click on the link below, sign with your email and spread this around! 
a small help that can do a lot!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Missionaries, schools and roads.

A week is made of 7 days, but it feels way longer indeed!

On Monday morning i went into town with Vojtech  (a volunteer who works for Siriri from Czech Republic. Their government helps out with our schooling funds) and we went to check out the schools, and make sure they were open. And it was a pleasant surprise to find teachers at their station, welcoming the children and prep for enrolling.

In each school the parents set to clean up and mow the grass. In one particular school, the parents organized a TV room, a generator and a PA system, had the kids there for a couple of hours with videos, music and films as a welcoming for the new school year. such a party!

As for the refugees, we hold a contest and selected the first eight teachers that in these days had intensive training.
At the end of this week i'm happy to say the students in Bozoum were 1196

On Tuesday morning alarm rang at 4 am. after the Mass (it was Saint Therese of Avila"s day, our founder) I set off to Bouar, passing through Bossentele and Baoro. Got there about 9.30
On my way I saw Fomac militaries (central-African countries force) on their way to Bouar to take service. There will be within few weeks, 500 militaries. hopefully it will bring back some peace and safety.
in the meantime during this week I managed to pass through 14 barriers with no harm done....

Tuesday and Wednesday i was at the pastoral meeting of our diocese: we were about 60, gathered with the Bishop, laics, priests and nuns all operating in the parishes in these whereabouts. And we 
gave each other comfort, despite the problems in these past months, to serve with joy and strength the Lord and his people here. During the Mass on Wednesday evening we prayed for two volunteers who died: our beloved Giorgio Grandicelli and Antonio Savietto.

On Thursday morning I went back. At 10 am we got to Bohong, the village where the rebels burned more than 1500 homes. The ONG ACF (Action Contre la Faim) truck followed us. We handed out blankets, ground cloths, mosquito nets, cooking tools, cleaning and hygienic products for 3350 families....

We also met with the local Imam and the remaining of local authorities, rebels included. The atmosphere was less tense than last week, today's distribution should help everyone regain some strength and hope. We'll also try to help out for the schools reopening here as well.

in the afternoon we set off to Bocaranga, arrived there in the evening. Friday hit the road again. in these past months of rain, the roads have gotten worse, suddenly we got stuck un the mud, no way to get it out, not even with a double bridge. After a while, with the help of some locals, we removed mud and dirt, we were sinking in up to the knee! Finally, after 2 hours we managed to get it out!

Once again we stopped in Herba, the village with 222 burned homes. I met with the school's principal and encouraged him to reopen soon. Of course, they're still very scared...let's hope. We picked up a guy who was shot and brought him to the Bozoum hospital. his situation is really bad, as the bullet probably broke the femur and here is not even possible to have an xray. hopefully we'll be able to bring him to another hospital!

During these days, as well as planning how to pass the barriers without getting shot, i distracted myself with some music. Beethoven, Rossini. and also I found a song by Jovanotti, which is dedicated to his wife, but my ears listened to this as if it was a prayer. October is the month for Missions and to me it makes it even more true:

For you who simply are substance to my days
For you who are my great love and my love wide
for you who took my life and made it more
for you who taught me dreams and the art of adventure
for you who are the best thing that ever happened to me
the only love that I'd wish for if you weren't mine
for you who made my life so beautiful, who transform hardship an immense pleasure
for you who took my life and made it more

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Almost as in the movies.....

Western's scene:

In these days I was in Bangui for few meetings. On Thursday morning we set off, got to PK12 (12th kilometer: the main gate to get in and out of the capital) and the Seleka rebels demanded our ordre de mission. I wasn't ok with this but we gave it to them. they stamped and signed it. In the meanwhile they wanted to search our car. i told them the only authority that could do that was the law enforcement agency (just across the street)
if THEY want to search us it's ok but the rebels NO.

Once the papers are in order we were ready to leave, a random guy just got there, he had no badge, insisting on searching us. I refused and left. Just after 500 meters they stopped me, i saw in the rear mirror a motorbike approaching, with one of them rebels standing on top of it,  with a  rifle in his arms. i stopped. he got to me and drew the rifle at me, intimating to go back. there were a lot of people there so i told him to leave me time. he started to get back and shot to our tyre. then he shot in the air and demanded that i reversed back. I got out of the car and saw two flat tyre. tried to calm him down and make him understand it's not possible to move a car when it has flats. in the meantime i notice they were carrying away a woman that got injured from a loose bullet.

thankfully as we're arguing a police patrol from RCA and Congo passed by. i stopped and asked for their help, saying there's a crazy armed man shooting and who keeps threatening. They get out of the car and tried to calm him and numerous people around down. We changed our tyre, went back and went to the police to draw our statement. During this time we managed to make different calls. soon after that the general director of the police, a colonel from the home office got here. they arrested the shooting guy, and we were asked for another statement in a different office.

nevertheless the rebels chief, once this was over, insisted to search us. the general director, quite frustraded (it's been months of humiliations from the Seleka rebels) eventually agreed. asked me what's in the car. "4 boxes of paint and our personal baggage" I said. so he told the rebels' chief (without having searched for anything) that the search was over....
We left, went to buy 2 new tyre and about 11 am we set off again.
Detective story's scene
The minister of Elevage insisted to accompany us to the PK 12. Joined us and so we left. but down the road, a car with no plate, a closed Land Cruiser, black screen, got between our car and the minister's. We overtook them. the ministers stopped and we talked. they overtook us. we set off again and they overtook us again. The minister stopped so we went back.
we're all afraid that they'll vindicate today. they do big business with the barrier at PK12. We put that in danger today...
International Schemes' scene
On Thursday and Friday we tried to leave the city. but we needed security and it's rather difficult to organize it. there is a plane of ONU's forces, but it will be here on ly by Tuesday. and they wouldn;t get as far as Bozoum....We could try another road. but is very long and unsafe....we gave in on waiting.
Spy story's scene
On Saturday morning it rained. After prayers and Mass I told to my traveling companions we could take advantage of the bad weather and try to get out of there. Everyone's ok with the plan. We get Joseph (our driver) and his wife and we set off. I wore sunglasses and a sweater. Got to PK12. Joseph got out of the car to sign (and to illegally pay 1000 f cfa) then they wanted to search the car, Joseph agreed, despite the lashing rain. As they began to search, a police guy told the rebel they are not authorized to search: the Minister has ordered only police to search the Mission and Organism's vehicles. The rebel doesn't listen. but this means something is changing.
After 10 minutes, with steamed screen, someone shouts Father Aurelio is in the car! Panic! thankfully it was a police guy that only recognized Father Stefano and said hi. and they let us go!
Why is this all happening? It's unbelievable that the entrance into the capital is let at the rebel's mercy. they behave as cow-boys. It's crazy that people must still endure all these tyrannies and injustice. It's impossible to believe this State cannot do its duty, and lets insane people shoot in daylight in the open in one of the crowdiest places in town
I really hope this event and the risk we took will serve to change something.....