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Sunday, July 5, 2015

News report from Cameroon

News report from Cameroon

The various translators of this blog are complaining (!?!?) that my weekly chronical is too short. OK with me. I'll try to make them work a bit 'more! Saturday I left Bozoum driving toward Bouar, where I spent the night. Sunday morning I’m on my way to Cameroon. I travel together with Fr.Federico, Fr. Cyriaque, and three young Brothers (Mickael, Martial and Regis). We want to reach the Community of our Brothers in Yaounde, the capital, to attend a training session on the Carmelite Reform, in this centenary year of the birth of St. Teresa of Avila, our foundress. Along the way there are very few cars. On this route there are often attacks by rebels: we can see trucks and cars burned. We understand that we are going to find problems at the border. Finally we reach the border, and here begins the adventure. As for the Cameroon side they don’t allow our Central African Brothers to go beyond. We try to be in touch over the phone with the Embassy of Cameroon in Central Africa. They, before leaving, did assure us that they would have alerted the border and that we could go through without problems! After several hours of waiting, Fr. Federico and I decided to go ahead, to see if through the city of Bertoua (the regional capital) we could contact local authorities asking them if they could allow our Central African Brothers to pass the border and enter in Cameroon. Next morning we meet the police officer in charge of Immigration. This officer too tells us that he can do nothing. At 10.00am comes the OK by the police, finally informed by the Embassy of Cameroon, and around 01.00pm the three Brothers are able, with a bus, to move toward Cameroon. At 05.00 pm we welcome them leaving immediately for Yaounde. A distance of 400 km is in front of us, but finally we reach our parish Nkoabang close to the entrance of the town. At about 10.30pm we can finally hug our brothers in Nkolbisson. Tuesday morning began the training session, led by Fr. Silvano Giordano, a member of our Carmelite Province, Professor at the Gregorian University in Rome.

We work together with the Carmelite Friars living in Cameroon. Are almost two years at present of cooperation. Their young candidates come to Central Africa to live their formation as Novices, while our students come here to Cameroon to carry on their theological studies. For me it is also an opportunity to meet the Friars of our common Province (Fr. Domenico, Fr. Marco, Fr. Silvano), to discuss and reflect, but also to give one another the healthy gift of a good laugh.

Thursday I make myself a special gift. Early morning I drive toward south through the city where a very heavy traffic demands almost two hours to cross it!  At 01.00 pm I arrive in Ebolowa, 175 km from Yaounde. Here I meet with joy the family of Simon and Hosanna, which in 1994 had fled from Rwanda reaching the RCA in 1955. They did stay with us in Bouar, where Simon worked as a mechanic. I meet Hosanna, his wife (still young!) and their 4 children: Christian baptized in Bouar, Nicole (born and baptized in Bouar) and the two daughters (Michelle and Rolande). We spend a bit of time together, going back to the time we lived together in Bouar. Slowly the kids, at that time very young (3 y.o. Christian and just born Nicole!), awakens memory and the joy while remembering those beautiful moments. This family is an image of millions of African families, forced by war and violence to flee their country! The father and mother were born in Rwanda. As for the 4 children: one is born in Congo, one in Central Africa and 2 in Cameroon! In the evening I drive back to Yaounde enjoying, so to speak, another 2 hours of heavy traffic in Yaounde. The city is waiting for the visit of the French President, François Hollande, and the traffic is on tilt, much more than usual! On Friday I get my passport and, so important, the Visa for Hyppolite, the crippled boy who lives in Bozoum. With his Visa, hopefully, at the end of July he should go to Italy for treatment. Another step forward! I’m planning to go back to Central Africa on Saturday. I hope to arrive Sunday in Bozoum, after almost 2,400 kilometers of roundtrip.
Pollaio in costruzione a Garoua Boulay
Poulailler en construction à Garoua Boulay

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