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Monday, February 2, 2015

Sowing Peace

Sowing Peace.
 It’s time again for the great Bozoum Fair!
 After having organized the last Fair in 2013 and, before the Seleka “coup d’etat”, we had to wait two years and skip the 2014 edition because of the fight between antibalaka and Seleka.
 Finally to-day, Saturday January 31st, we officially opened the 12th edition of the Bozoum Fair which will last till the day after tomorrow, February 1st, 2015. It’s a bet made on hope, on peace, a bet on what is beautiful and good, on the future, on the land, on the work and on the pride of who humbly works the fields to eat but also to feed her/his own dignity, as a woman as a man.
 Represented are 178 co-operatives, they are from Bozoum, Bocaranga, Ndim, Ngaundaye, Bossemptele, Taley.........some travelled 210Km! We of the Caritas, with Cordaid (a Dutch Catholic ONG), are working on this for almost a month! We have to send invitations to the authorities and organizations; to the agricultural cooperatives (we follow more than 600 ones with a total of more than 16,500 supporters), we have to visit the main centres to coordinate and organize. Just in these few days we have to organize the departure of the trucks needed to transport products (and people). Till yesterday I wasn’t sure about the success of this Fair. To go ahead and do it now, with the actual tension, with armed people around, with the recent ended war, it has been a bet but for now....we are winning!!! I gave a big sigh of relief when I did see the first trucks arrive!!!
Yesterday there was a joyful expectation among Bozoum people and a happy atmosphere! The Fair is held in a trees area, where once was the society that worked the cotton. Here we organized about 30 stands and around them, quickly, tents and divisors have been raised by women associations and privates to set up restaurants and bars.  This morning at 7:00AM I was at the site. After half an hour the boys of the last year at our Saint Augustin High School arrived too. They are the ones taking care of the hospitality and also for gathering data about the products and the sales. They are very proud and in their uniform they stand out in the crowd. Full of good will they give a hand here and there and in turn they learn!
 At 9:00AM the opening ceremony started with the parade of the cooperatives: a happy moment celebrating the dignity of who works in the fields. After few speeches the Fair was open and we visited the stands. The first was Caritas, the second our “Cana” the Centre for the Promotion of the Women, soon after, was the turn of the one of our boys and girls of the Centre for the orphans “Arc en Ciel”, showing the products of their work: bracelets, mats, baskets, sandals....
Later we visited the stands of the different cooperatives, with rice, peanuts, corn, millet, sesame, beans and many other products of their work. I could see a celebration of colours and faces finally cheerful after 2 year of war. In the afternoon we went to see 13 vegetable gardens. A way to spur and encourage who is working during the dry season, reclaiming some deserted areas of the city and to promote horticulture.
When one comes upon the “gardens valley” the view is breath taking: the green of the vegetables on the red soil, everything clean and i order. Bravo to all!  The Sunday, after the Mass, is still set apart for sales but the afternoon will be dedicated to the closing, with prizes to the best exhibitors and the best gardens.
A Fair could be a moment of joy and peace. These days slogan is “Farm the Peace”: and this requires time, labor and humility. How to work the land: timing, good weather, rain, and toil without being disheartened, humbling submit. At the end you’ll see the fruits.
The same is for Peace!

I nostri ragazzi del Liceo St.Augustin al lavoro!
Les élèves de notre Lycée St.Augustin au travail!

I ragazzi e ragazze del Centro Orfani Arc en Ciel con i loro lavoretti...
Les filles et les garçons de notre Centre pour Orphelins Arc en Ciel, avec leurs oeuvres

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