Many goodbyes and…. welcome back
Although it's only, so to speak, since 1974 that I travel back and forth through the world (then it was by train from Cuneo to Arenzano where I was in the Seminar, later to Genoa and, since 1992, to Africa) still I find difficult the moment of departure. Greeting friends, family, confreres is not so easy when you know that the distance, both space and time, will be quite far away. The days before leaving being busy in getting ready with last commitments and the luggage the time seems to run at the same time too fast and too slow. But the most demanding are the latest visits, meetings and greetings. But this is life, and going away is also positive. The pain of that moment makes it even more precious to go elsewhere to live in a very far Country. At the end of the day isn’t so far away anyhow: prayer and friendship do not diminish because of the distance!
I spent the last weekend in Cuneo. I've met again so many great people. On Sunday morning I celebrated in my Parish dedicated to the Immaculate Heart, and then at 11.00 am in Montanera, a little village in the open countryside. Here, the pastor was able to involve all parishioners in sharing solidarity with Central Africa.
On Tuesday the alarm clock wakes me up before 03.00 am. I load the last suitcases, and with Marisa, my sister I leave. A short stop and here the surprise: I find at 03.20 am still nighttime, a friend, Paolo Silvestro, who accompanies us to Turin. We have one last cappuccino together, carrying the boarding pass and luggage, and giving one another the last hugs. I began boarding, and after more check-ups, one last greetings and away.
At 6.00 am the plane leaves for Paris, and from Paris I reach Bangui, where my flight arrives with a slight delay, at 4.30 pm. Passport control, luggage recovery, luggage control, and finally off!
The next day, on Wednesday, after meeting the Friars of the community, I leave towards Bozoum. The car is packed with many things: my luggage plus bags of seeds to be distributed. They are a gift from “Seed Programs International, USA”. The distance isn’t short but finally the 400kms end, and at 05.00 am finally I reach Bozoum.
On Thursday 25th here in Central Africa we celebrate the Ascension, and I preside the Eucharist, which allows me to greet and pray with my Christians. In this way I restart my normal life in Bozoum.
And happy birthday!