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Sunday, April 9, 2017

A quiet week ... or not?

A quiet week ... or not?
I thought (I did hope and dream) I could stay a bit quiet in Bozoum, after a number of trips in recent weeks. Instead on Wednesday morning I had to drive to Bouar. Luckily there is the direct route, which allows me to avoid that longer one (2 hours instead of 5, and 105 km instead of 250).
On my way back I found a nice surprise! These last days it was raining and the rain caused the collapse of some walls in Bouar, fortunately without casualties. With the rain the nature flourishes: the grass grows, and the insects multiply. Along the way I found so many birds “celebrating”. I did see mostly falcons and hawks, but then I found dozens of birds of a species that I have never seen. I found out later that they were “Abdin storcks”, black and white, really elegant.
Yesterday, Friday, we began the Youth Pilgrimage. The participants are about 500! Last week we have had a few days of reflection and preparation and now we are ready for this journey:  two days of walking, up to Taley, a village 49 km from Bozoum. Friday after a moment of prayer in the church, the pilgrimage begins. It is a very hot day! But we simply are walking with courage. After 5 km we stop a while to compact the group and restarting praying the Rosary, meditating the Stations of the Cross, and singing. After 3 hours of walking we reach Betara, at about 18 km, a village where there is a school, a small chapel, a water pump. Here the pilgrims will spend the night. I return to Bozoum.
On Saturday I get up at 4 am, I go to buy bread and at around 5 am I’m in Betara. Here they are all awake, and the cooks are distributing breakfast: coffee or tea and two loaf of bread. At 6:05 am we move again. We spend the first hour in prayer, celebrating the Rosary and singing, while going on. The sun ... today hits a lot, I think we are on the 38th Celsius, and forces us to few stops. About 10 Km before arrival, the parish that welcomes us, organized a small reception committee and as we move forward, the villagers or walk with us, or just observe, offering water, and having an eye on mango trees, fearing that the fruits can be stolen. At 12:30 pm we finally reach Taley. We all feel very tired, but the afternoon promises to be busy: shower, lunch, the celebration of the Mass and confessions, and ... the inevitable soccer game and dancing. 
Life is a long pilgrimage!
il muro crollato alla Yolé
le mur écroulé à la Yolé

la Cicogna di Abdim
la cigogne d'Abdim

Via Crucis: la morte di Gesù
Le chemin de Croix: la mort de Jésus

Arrivo a Betara
L'arrivée à Betara


preparativi per la notte a Betara

Sabato, una pausa sulla strada
Samedi, une pause sur la route

l'accoglienza dei cristiani sulla strada
l'accueil des chrétiens sur la route

enfin à Taley


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