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Monday, April 4, 2016

Greetings from India. 1

I nuovi battezzati di Pasqua
les nouveaux baptisés de Paques

Corale di Bozoum

Greetings from India. 1
Here where I’m now my watch says 8.00am, while in Central Africa and Europe the clock says only 2.30am!
I’m in Kerala, South India, beautiful region bordering the sea, where the Foundress of CMC Congregation (Mother of Carmel Congregation) is born and here the same Congregation has the “Mother House”. The CMC is India's first Congregation founded 150 years ago by Saint Cyriacos Chavara who is also, the first Indian saint and by Fr. Leopoldo Beccaro, a Carmelite who later returned to Italy, founding the Convent of Arenzano. I'm here together with Fr. Mesmin, Superior in Bangui, to visit the Indian sisters with whom we did work for a good number of years in Central Africa Republic, in the Yolé seminar.
I went to Bangui on Monday (Easter Monday) after a beautiful Easter celebration. On the Easter Vigil we baptized 22 babies. On Tuesday we leave Bangui being about one hour late. The city is getting ready for the celebration of the beginning of the mandate of the newly elected President. Because of this main event there are delegations coming from other Countries. Despite the delay, in Nairobi we can take the flight to Bombay (Mumbai), where we arrived at 5.30am (although for us, actually, it would be midnight ...). It’s a large and modern airport. We can pass the filter of Immigration. Our visa, issued in Congo Indian Embassy, seems to raise some concerns. Consequently we face some problems recovering the suitcases and embarking on the next flight, but finally we leave.
At 11.30 we land in Cochin, Kerala’s Capital, in southern India. Here we find Sister Anil who has worked many years in Bouar and the Mother, Provincial Superior, who take us to Angamaly, where we are welcomed by the Community with a necklace of flowers. A shower, a quick lunch and we leave immediately towards the North with Sister Catherine who works in Italy in Arenzano and Sister Payton who has worked in Central Africa for over 24 years!. It is a journey of nearly seven hours, on busy roads, on which I think we’re consuming more on honking than on gasoline. It is a continuous overcoming, left-hand drive, and a continuous race to get ahead. Along the road we admire the sightseeing while surpassing also many ... elephants! Today is a Hindu festival, and there are many processions with these magnificent animals well harnessed.
At 9.00pm we arrive at Nadavayal, a village in the mountains, where the temperature is definitely better. Here we are welcomed once more with necklaces, songs and flowers by Sister Catherine’s Community. After dinner, we finally get some rest. The next day we visit a monastery, a home for orphans and a very large school. In the afternoon Sr. Catherine’s brother takes us to visit a grotto, where there are Bronze Age petroglyphs. Then we go first to visit his sister home. From there we move to visit Sr. Catherine’s parents where we meet the all family. Here too a great reception! We see beautiful families, very united, and with great desire to grow. Many children are working abroad, including Kenya, United States, and Dubai. Here there’s lots of faith. Kerala is the state where lives a large Christian population. There’s also much human warmth. When the language isn’t enough (they speak Malayalam and a bit of English) they supply with smiles which do not required interpreters! The food is really good, with spicy and interesting tastes. At every stop ... you eat something!
On Friday, after other visits, we continue our journey toward Thiruvampady. We reach the town driving on a mountain road, with 9 large bends that make us overcome almost a height of 1000 meters. But this is another episode ... on which I will update you as soon as possible!
Mumbay (Bombay) airport

Piantagione di cocco
Plantation de cocotiers

"Infant Jesus School"

la biblioteca della scuola "Infant jesus"

salendo verso le grotte

Piantagioni di thé
Plantations de thé

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