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Saturday, November 22, 2014

Live from Nairobi

Il Kilimanjaro

Live from Nairobi
I share with you some news from Kenya. Wednesday morning myself and Fr. Davide, from Dar es Salaam moved to Nairobi. Here welcomes us a young Carmelite priest from Kenya, Fr. Steve. We wait for the following flight on which are travelling Fr. Fryderick , Polish and Fr. Jean Marie, a Burundian. Both of them are coming from Rwanda.
We cross by car a section of Nairobi noticing high traffic, many commercial and industrial activities, but also the great green outdoors, at least in the area where we stand, Kareen. Here is the Carmelites Convent, as well as many other Religious communities. Next door there is the Consolata Missionaries House. Right there I could surprise with a visit Fr. Nicholas Fogliacco, fellow countryman back in Italy (Our Lady of Grace - Cuneo). We talked fraternally ending saying each other goodbye in our own dialect: the “piemontese”.
At present I am here in Nairobi because of a Meeting of the Superiors of French-speaking Carmelites. We are about twelve Carmelite Friars coming from Congo, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Togo, Senegal, Madagascar, together with representative of the General House in Rome.
It's nice to get together and to learn about other Countries and different life experiences. Despite the social fragility of many countries, I find in all participants a very strong wish to bring the beauty of the Gospel, and to share the spirituality of Carmel. We had very lively and enriching exchanges of our points of view on education and formation of our youth, among a good number of other important issues. As an enjoyable conclusion we went to visit, not so far from our convent, a small park, natural environment for the giraffes
We have in our hearts much hope and convinced wishes to continue our missionary work so that Africa continues to grow enriching the world and the Church with its beautiful gifts.
Tomorrow, Saturday, November 22, I will leave travelling toward North: first to Paris and then to Rome. I will stay a few weeks in Italy. Talk to you soon.

In riunione con i Padri Carmelitani dell'Africa Francofona e Madagascar

Il Centro dei Carmelitani Scalzi a Nairobi
Le Centre des carmes Déchaux à Nairobi

Thursday, November 20, 2014

News from Tanzania..............

News from Tanzania..............
On Sunday, November 16, I left Cameroun planning to reach Tanzania together with Father David. It’s a long trip. Often the planes take different strange routes. We reached Nairobi after 4 hours flight and from here, by a small plane we arrived to Dar es Salaam Capital city of Tanzania. To tell you the truth we landed to a wrong airport (Zanzibar) but realizing the mistake, we had the time to regain the flight and go on with our trip.
At about 1:00 AM we arrived at Dar es Salaam where we met Sister Rita of the Congregation of the Mother of Carmel, the Indian Sisters working with us at Bouar Seminary. On Monday morning we went around visiting with them their community. They work in education and their schools are truly beautiful.
We also did meet a group of young women from Tanzania, Malawi and Kenya who are preparing to become Sisters and, for about an hour, I could have a friendly conversation with them, mostly about the situation in Central Africa. In the afternoon we went to the sea shore of the beautiful Indian Ocean with its fantastic views. We crossed the city whose traffic it`s truly impressive.
We did wake up at 3:30 AM on Tuesday to travel north to see Mikumi National Park, a really beautiful park with giraffes, buffalos, antelopes, zebras, elephants and we did watch two lionesses walking just in front of us. After the visit to the park we went to see the CMC Sisters` home at Morogoro with its beautiful school that has the most beautiful children! A very interesting trip which allowed us to know another Africa who is growing very fast, a trip that also granted us to know better these great Indian Sisters with whom we work since many years in Bouar.
Today, Wednesday, we are flying to Kenia

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Ready? Let’s go!

Ready? Let’s go!
Now that the Maison de la Paix have been restructured the weekly meeting of the Committee of Wise Men takes place each Monday at 8 am in this renewed location.
At the same Maison the la Paix I met all those who in Bozoum continue to work for peace in order to avoid tensions and violence.
As the meeting ended I went to Bouar, 250 km far from Bozoum, and there I have had some useful meetings. While there I heard about the imminent release of Fr. Matthieu the Polish Pastor of Baboua. According to the people voices should have been matter of hours. Until now instead nothing happened. It is now four weeks which the Father is seized by the rebels.
Tuesday we had in Bouar a cordial meeting with all of our missionaries Carmelites Friars. They were from Bouar (Yolé and St. Elias), Baoro, Bozoum and Bangui. We met for an exchange of views about our life of prayer, pastoral and vocational ministry.
Wednesday early morning at 5.30 am we were already on the road. Fr. Federico who two days before was driving from Bangui on the same road, have been stopped twice by the many barriers placed by anti-balaka, who also slapped him. Our journey then appeared a little tense. But when we got to the same area we met only one barrier ... and we did not even stop!
We have had more meetings on next day, with some intervals making our way to the kitchen in order to prepare pizza. Some soldiers were invited too. I did ask the doctor who had treated me just few months ago, to be with us, but no soldiers nor te Doctor could come because some Seleka which were kept confined for few months in 3 cabins, were back free on the roads blocking all traffic.
Friday morning I travel with Fr. Davide Sollami who in Arenzano works for our Missions, towards Douala in Cameroon. In theory, we expected to take our flight for Yaounde the Capital City that evening, but the flight have been canceled. The day after early morning we reached the airport, but because of the fog we couldn’t take off on time. The fog was expecting us again at Yaounde, Cameroon Capital. The landing has been delayed of a quarter of an hour. Finally we were welcomed by our dear Friars: Brother Jean Baptiste (Cameroon) and the Italian Fr. Dominic. They drove us to their convent in Nkolbisson. There we met some young men in formation. Among them also two Central Africans: Brother Christo and Brother Rodrigue. Both of them are there in order to complete their theological studies.
The day is quickly coming to an end: a good number of meetings and fraternal visits. In the afternoon we went to greet the Carmelite nuns, and then again on the road toward another convent in Nkoabang. We found ourselves in the middle of a heavy traffic due to normal everyday life but also for a great expectation of an important soccer game: Cameroon vs Congo.
Drive through the city like Yaounde and Douala, and a country like Cameroon, helps us to understand how just a bit of peace is the base of a better quality of life and an opportunity of development.

Foto presa a bangui! Il progresso!
Vraie photo prise à Bangui... le progrès!

Il porto di Douala, in Cameroun
le port de Douala, au Cameroun

Il convento dei Carmelitani a Yaounde
Le couvent des Pères Carmes à Yaounde

Monday, November 10, 2014

Great response from the poors......... poor response from the greats.

Great response from the children......... poor response from the adults.
Few weeks ago I proposed a food and money collection on behalf of 200 Muslims who have chosen to stay in Bozoum. The majority of them are women and children because the men, the most in danger, had to run away to safety due to the threats of the anti-“balaka”.
Once a month, during Sunday Mass, we make a second collection for the poor. On Sunday, the 2nd of November, my parishioners surprised me once again: they started, in a long line up, to bring manioc, peanuts and other products plus money, all goods destined to the Muslims who are now suffering in Bozoum. A beautiful and substantial gesture if one considers that the average collection it’s no more than 15 or 20 euros while the collection of last Sunday was about 70 euros. An unbelievable gesture of good will, forgiveness and love by the simple people of Bozoum!!
Usually on Sunday afternoon I take some youths, boys and girls, who work for the ONG here in Bozoum, to visit the rice-fields. It’s always amazing to see firsthand the care and attention put in a job well done.
On Monday we’ll receive the visit of some UN representatives, they work for MINUSCA here in Central Africa, which is the intervention program of UN Peacekeepers (but also a support to the Government and to Justice). Lots of means, not yet results. Despite the few thousands soldiers, still there are massacres and attacks and the National Road #1, the only road that links up Bangui to the Cameroun is controlled by criminals who assault, stop and spoil the cars, even the ones of humanitarian convoys steeling everything they carry. Once more we have lots of means and money but minimal results.
On Saturday, November 08, we experienced a moment of JOY, a breath of HOPE, with the inauguration of the “Maison de la Paix”, a structure that the ONG ACTED did refit to be used by the “Comite’ des Sages”, a group of Bozoum people determined to re-establish a minimum of PEACE and JUSTICE.
Ahead with hope, always!!

Le offerte per le famiglie musulmane
les dons pour les familles musulmanes de Bozoum