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Tuesday, November 19, 2013

the logbook

Some Caritas member came into my office. One of them, at midnight 3 Seleka rebels paid him a visit. He's a volunteer, one of those who help out with PAM food distribution to the refugees. They demanded food. he had none. they threatened him, set another time to meet and bring them 150000 CFA (225 euros)
I made some calls, then i went to see them...I met with their "colonel". Told him what happened, made names of those who threatened. He replied he didn't know them....Even if one of these two is THE famous Goni, the one who smacked me....We argued a bit, then i left. And the volunteer decided to leave Bozoum for a while......

5.30 I set off to Bozoum. I left early bcause at 8.30 I held a  meeting with the religious leaders in Bossemptele, 90 km far. We were about 15, Catholics and Protestants. Muslims didn't come, but we decided to go ahead anyway and to meet with them later on for an update. We meditated, as religious people, about the problems and the situation this country is going through. This crisis is a result of errors and mistakes, of a long journey. And, in order to solve it, it requires a huge conversion commitment, a path of reflection and development that will take time, but we as believers want to undertake! I left at noon. Barriers now have increased up to 13, but it wasn't too hard to pass through.

Wednesday until Saturday
the morning flew by in between meetings. Unicef wants to helps us out with Bozoum and Bossentele sector's schools that are still shut down. This would allow 8000 kids to go to school! I also met with people and friends who worry for my safety (well, that includes me!). Even a restaurant owner waved at me and invited me over (thanks F. !)
I stopped by the PAM and other organizations and in the afternoon i met with the Caritas trainers. the 9 RCA dioceses representative's trainers are gathering to think how to work best in such awful context. The whole country is knocked out! In Bossangoa there are still 41000 refugees (34000 in the Cathedral estate). Countless in Berberati. In other areas the rebels go from town to town and leave to the farmers empty bags, and demand them to be filled up.
These trainers come from several Caritas: Caritas Africa, Caritas Internationalis e Caritas UK (CAFOD): it's great to see the Church in its diversity and unity, they come from India, Switzerland, UK and Congo.
Caritas, here in RCA is one of the rare organization that never left. They stayed close to the people. more than ever we feel the truth in the Pope's words, that Caritas "is a caress from Mother Church to her people". on Saturday morning, the Archbishop Mons. DieudonnĂ© Nzapalainga, Caritas' president, concluded these meetings. His action, within and outside the country is truly prophetic. I left at 1 pm. My car fully loaded of paint, 350 chicks cheeping for the whole trip. On km 12th a bit of tension: they asked me for the Order of Mission: I said I didn't have it. They demanded to see it, I said no! Then I told them I'm a minister, so they made a sign to pass. But the guy at the barrier said no. Eventually I made  it home in Bozoum at 8 pm. Finally.

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