Total Pageviews

Monday, August 31, 2015

Nuns and roads

gli strilloni!
Nuns and roads
Last Sunday, the altar boys have been busy distributing the parish newspaper "Le Saint Michel". During the Mass I asked to read it, explaining that there were some insights about the forthcoming elections (October-November 2015). I wanted to give them an opportunity for a better understanding of this political event. They can be easily orientated by someone just because he belongs to the same ethnic group, or because he can give money, beer or fabrics...
Last Monday we hold a meeting with the volunteers of the “Listening Centre” (Centre d'écoute): every week thirty people make themselves available to listen to those in need and help them. There are those who accompany the sick to the hospital, or to the police or in Court in order to get justice, those who give information about some Groups that can give assistance, repair a roof, prepare a meal, bring firewood or water, and so on.
Wednesday I receive the visit of the Indian nuns who work at Yole’ with us in Bouar. The nuns are together with Sister Rita, the superior of the African region, which I had met in November in Dar es Salaam in Tanzania. Here in Central Africa, since 1991, they work as teachers, nurses and offer valuable assistance with a typical feminine touch, flavored up with a lot of joy!
Thursday I leave with them driving to Bangui, to take the Mother Superior who is going back to Tanzania. Along the road we meet the convoy with about 200 trucks driving towards the capital. I overtake them one by one, but it takes a long time, because the road is narrow and isn’t in good condition! They travel in convoy because there are attacks along the way, and are escorted by UN peacekeepers. Just today I received a message from a student of our school, who went to Cameroon, where he is attending the University, saying:
Hello Father! I take this opportunity to keep you informed of my return trip to Cameroon! Indeed, as expected I left Bozoum Monday, 8/25 and I had to spend 2 nights in Bouar because of lack of transportations. Because of this I left for Bouar Garoua-Boulay the following Wednesday. During this trip, our vehicle was stopped by rebels about 25km after Baboua and we were brought for twenty meters or so into the bush. They made us lie on the ground and began the counting of our bags and pockets. Thank God our lives were spared after they have collected an amount of almost 1.5 million f CFA (2,250 euros). As for me I was able to keep what I had for the University registration, because I had hidden them. But they took my phone and some 5000 f CFA cash that I had purposely kept in the pocket.
This happens on the only road allowing communication with Cameroon, which is also the only road to get merchandise. It makes you realize how fragile the situation is, and how little is being done to secure at least some strategic points. I do not say that the United Nations are not doing what they should do, but maybe they could at least spare us all the round tables and press conferences, where they continue to say that the situation has improved, that everything is under control and so on. Maybe the improvement is for them, in their offices with air conditioning, or in the hundreds of their cars crossing Bangui. I don’t want to go any further with my comments…
In Bangui I meet our community of Carmel, always "brightened" by the more than 2,500 refugees (since December 2013) and I welcome two Sisters of the Misericordia just arrived from Congo: Sister Francine and Sister Christine. It is they who are to replace the Franciscan Sisters. Sister Francine will continue to her destination which is Ndim (160 km from Bozoum) and Sister Christine instead will remain in Bozoum. On Sunday at 06.00 we leave Bangui reaching finally Bozoum at noon, where they can embrace Sister Paula waiting for them ready to begin the adventure of “Misericordia” (Mercy) in Bozoum!

Camions sulla strada verso Bangui: tutto regolare e a norma!
Des camions sur la route vers Bangui: tout selon les règles!

Sr Payton, in Centrafrica dal 1991
Sr Payton, en Centrafrique depuis 1991

Sunday, August 23, 2015

It's raining, but isn’t everything…

It's raining, but isn’t everything…
While the rainy season is at its peak, the activities continue. During this period of tension and frailty, some problems emerge in an impressive way. Among them, the accusations of witchcraft! If a person becomes ill or dies, they search for the "guilty ones", meaning someone who has caused with its "magical" abilities the disease or the death. The victims of these accusations are always the weak and fragile (elderly, widows, children) who are often tortured and beaten, forced to drink poison in order to see if they are innocent (if after the poison they don’t die) or guilty (if after being poisoned they die). This attitude goes so far as to bury someone alive! In the past days they had reported this problem as being present in the village of Bokongo, 13 km from Bozoum. On Sunday Fr. Enrico went over there, and Thursday all the accused together with the young and the elders of the village have come here to Bozoum to discuss and resolve the situation, which ended "only" with the get-away of a threatened family,  which managed successfully to return to the village. The work of human promotion and evangelization is a never ending one, but it is true that we are all called to the Freedom of the Sons of God. The Association of Rice Producers of Bozoum was ready with the product (rice) to be sold to WFP and distribute it in the schools, instead of importing from Asia. The quality is very good, and the humidity is within the limits. Children can eat good rice, at low cost, while at the same time will grow the economy and the local production.

Sunday was the birthday of Hyppolite: 18!
Here are the latest updates by Alessandra from Savona: 
Saturday, August 15 Hyppolite has turned 18! We felt the need to celebrate and we did it with a nice group of people. We managed to organize a surprise party at the hospital, succeeding. These were the organizers: Emanuela mom, dad Fiorenzo, Alessandra, Marisa, Flavio, Grandmother Teresa, Paul, Fr. David, Antonella, Michi, Gianni and Paola! With an excuse I brought out of the room the birthday boy, saying that they had to clean the room, while others have now entered to set it up!!! Once everything is set, I have taken back Hyppolite in the room. I open the door and.... surprise!!!! A choir of twelve singing "Happy birthday to you" and Hyppolite is amazed! After all the greetings and best wishes with some emotional tears, the party begins: focaccia, pizza, pretzels (thanks Paul!!!), chocolate cake, sparkling wine and many beautiful gifts for Hyppo! Ah, let's not forget the balloon of Minions, which we could not miss! I take this opportunity to thank (also on behalf of Hyppolite) all those who have dedicated some of their time, with a phone call, with a message or being present in such an important day for him, especially now that he is facing a time not easy at all. I'm pretty sure he will be grateful forever.

As for his clinical situation we talked with Dr. Anselmo. He says that with regard of the infection Hyppolite is getting better reacting well to antibiotic therapy. They will do a biopsy to see how deep the infection is and what kind of infection Hyppolite has. Then they’ll decide a possible change of the present therapy. This coming week a plastic surgeon from Santa Corona Hospital will visit him. Incidentally this Surgeon is also following my brother! For now no Cvc. At the most it can happen when he comes home (I think it’s going to take a lot) in case he has to continue the therapy. Finally (sticking point) he is going to face further surgery to "fix" the basin ... The head of the femur is completely eaten by the infection and this has compromised everything.

For those who failed to see the 5 TV Shows about Center Africa, broadcasted by the TG of Tv2000 last week, here is the link (they are all in one video): 

It is on newsstands the number of the Journal de Bozoum

I produttori di riso di Bozoum
la coopérative du Rix de Bozoum

la veranda di Bozoum

discussioni su stregoneria ecc
réunion sur la sorcellerie

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Today is a Feast!

Padri e studenti in formazione a sant Elie, Bouar

August 15. Today is a Feast!
Today is a liturgical holiday! The Assumption! The Virgin Mary, taken up into heaven body and soul, image and reminder to every man and woman, who bears within himself, like her, this longing for what is infinite and real gift. Today, Saturday 15, in Central Africa too is feast. No queuing at toll booths, no beach, but for those who want is a time of prayer. Traditionally we go to Doussa, a village 4 km away from Bozoum, where we celebrate the Eucharist. The week was relatively quiet, at least here. I went to Bouar, Thursday. It’s a 500 km driving round trip, with roads that continue to deteriorate. At Bouar I meet our communities. These days our youth are studying with a French father, Fr. Luc Marie, the writings of St. Teresa of Avila, our foundress. The young students are from Central Africa and Cameroon. A beautiful imagine of hope! In Bouar I take part in some meetings for Caritas, Justice and Peace. I am in charge of these Organizations in the name of the diocese. I make a stop in Baoro to see the Church of Kouisso Baguera, started some years ago by Fr. Renato, built by Enrico Massone, and finished just recently, complete with bell tower and paintings. A long job but now is an area of peace and prayer sown in the roads of this Country

la chiesetta di Kouisso Baguera

strade routes roads....

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

It was a severe week, here in Bozoum.

It was a severe week, here in Bozoum.
The situation about security is still unstable. The authorities don’t have the courage to oppose violence and crimes. When they are able to capture a criminal, they let him go in few hours, fearing consequences.  Last week, a young man entered in the pre-electoral census rooms and, armed with a knife, threatened the employees and stole a camera! He has been arrested but in few hours he was a free man.
On Tuesday, the same story of violence. A couple of young men stabbed the Prefecture Secretary General (the 2nd main authority of Bozoum State). Also in this case, the official version of the fact is that the perpetrators are unknown. While The truth is that everybody knows them and also where they live and what they do. In all Country the situation remains very unstable. In Bangui, the capital, the U.N. soldiers entered a neighborhood in order to arrest some “warfare leaders”, but they have been attacked in turn, lost a soldier and a tank to the enemy and 3 other tanks went on fire!

On Thursday I left for Bangui, due to some meetings, but most of all to welcome sister Paola of the Mercy Sisters. She is coming from Cameron and will stay few weeks with sister Adolphine, who is from Chad. They come here because the Franciscan Sisters, who are in Bozoum since 2004, are definitively going back to Italy after 11 years of life and work in Bozoum and after 28 years in Central Africa. On Saturday morning, the children of the Orphans Centre “Arc en Ciel” came in large number to greet the sisters. On Sunday morning we continued with a Thanksgiving Mass: the church was full, overflowing! Our people did celebrate with songs, dances and happy gratitude. After the Communion, the awa-dodo (the liturgical dancers) came in procession bringing some small presents for Sister Graziana, Chiara, Solange and Sira. In spite of the emotion and sadness for their departure, we give thanks with joy for their friendly maternal presence during these long years. Despite the many troubles, the war and sicknesses, they faithfully did stay at our side and they have showed us the maternal face of God, especially with the poorest ones, the orphans and the sick ones. 
Thanks Sister Sira, for your work at the dispensary, your attention to the sick people, your grumpy disposition but winning personality! 
Thanks Sister Graziana for your attention to the poor among us, for your joy in teaching the catechism, and.........the lettuce stolen from our garden! 
Thanks Sister Chiara for your work with the children and the orphans and because behind your fragile appearance you hides a motherly courage! 
Thanks Sister Solange for your work and attention to the poor and the orphan ones. We’ll miss your device for the mate!

I conclude with some updates from Savona about Hyppolite, updates just arrived from Alessandra!
Good morning! Hyppolite has been hospitalized on Monday morning for an assumed osteomyelitis, the leg was swollen (probably infected, due to fact that it is on the side of the sore), and they did right away the blood analysis, a tampon and a hydrating infusion. In the afternoon they gave the antibiotic! On Tuesday an echo-cardiogram and echo-Doppler, everything seems all right! On Wednesday afternoon X-ray to the spine and pelvis and this afternoon an echo-graph! Thanks to the antibiotic the leg isn’t swollen anymore and he feels definitely better! There is no fever and he eats like a wolf! Yesterday the dietician stops by to give him a hyper caloric diet! He devours big slices of “focaccia con prosciutto......beside the antibiotic they are giving him vitamins by veins infusion. On Monday morning the anesthetist should insert the Pic, so he could have the therapies done at home, and finally, we hope for the discharge and...................right away to the beach enjoying the Mediterranean sea”.

inondazioni a Bangui
les pluies à Bangui