Fears and Hopes
All began days ago when the Central Africa is once again in turmoil. Between Saturday 26 and Tuesday 29 of September, just in Bangui only there were, according to the UN, 41 dead and 266 wounded. It all started with the discovery of a murdered Muslim, and in no time the situation was suddenly out of control. Lots of killings, shootings, robberies and vandalism, while many NGOs have been looted, and their offices destroyed. All this has forced 42,575 people to leave their home, finding refuge in various shelters: parishes, monasteries, airport, created by December 2013.
Now that things seemed to calm down a bit, while we were waiting for the next elections, we are back just where we started. There is still much work to do if we want to touch deeply the culture and heart of people. We need a fresh restart. We need to learn how to think in the long term, without being overwhelmed by the urgency of the immediate results. We need to disarm those who don’t want peace. There is still too much to do, and unfortunately, this is my feeling: until now we have done almost nothing or very little, even by large organizations like the United Nations. In other cities a good number of criminals took the opportunity to loot, attack the prisons and giving room to more problems.
Here in Bozoum just a few shootings, some threat to the NGOs, but otherwise we did experience just severe tension. A very fool one allowed himself to threaten one of our children, Muslim, in his way back from school Because of such stupid behaviors I went several times downtown complaining about scaring presence of dangers and discourage the intruders. Last
Sunday we celebrated St. Vincent, such a great saint. He somehow "invented" the charity. Not in the meaning that the charity didn’t exist before. Saint Vincent lived by thinking and dreaming how to put the charity into action. It is he who did call rich and poor, noble and middle-class men and women to go and to give help to those in need, with love and intelligence, giving time, money and different kind of stuff, but above all tenderness and mercy, in the name of God. Even here in Bozoum there are the “St. Vincent’s Conferences”. Sunday I take this opportunity to talk about this saint and the way how to practice intelligent and loving charity.
On Monday morning I celebrate Mass for the students in our schools. It is impressive to see many, many, but many children in church! More than 1,200! The celebration is very vibrant with praise and prayers. I see with emotion how even the youngest from the kindergarten pray and sing. Our schools are improving well, due to the changes introduced by our friends of Siriri, the NGO of Prague. One of them, Ludmila, has been here for the first few weeks of school to help teachers with the new methods. To teach how to read everything is useful: even a T-shirt of an Italian Soccer Team named “Inter” with the promotional inscription “Samsung”.