|Il riso di Bozoum|
le riz de Bozoum
On Sunday, November 19th, Father Odilon, a newly ordained young Carmelite priest, is here at Bozoum to celebrate his First Mass. It is a moment that the whole parish community and Father Odilon were waiting for.
This week I go to take a look to the rice fields. It's a visit I always enjoy, kind of tonic for my hope while at the same time it’s a pleasure and encouragement seeing these areas cultivated with order and passion. Is with me a Councilor of the Prime Minister, who sees the fields for the first time, and He is amazed for such a vitality and beautiful work. This year the farmers feel encouraged by the opportunity to sell rice to the World Food Fund (WFP), which is then given to various schools. Because of this, instead of the usual 14 hectares, this year they did cultivate 32 hectares of rice!
On Tuesday I go to Bocaranga. I leave at 5.30 am, and after 3 hours and a half of a severely damaged road and 125 km, I’m in Bocaranga. I am amazed by the tranquility I find: the villages are full of activities, and some signs warn that it is forbidden to go around in the city with weapons. The market is full of life, and the schools are open. To me it seems almost a miracle! The city had been attacked by rebels in late September, and most of the people had fled (nearly 4,000 arrived in Bozoum). In early October, the UN Peace Keepers had finally intervened with a military operation, which caused the rebels to run away. Even though the rebels aren’t too far away, there is at least some peace and a bit of much needed tranquility.
I’m here in Bocaranga with Caritas employees and a "refugee woman" who had fled to Bozoum. The visit is important because the refugee people can see firsthand the real situation and then decide whether to return to Bocaranga or not. My visit here in Bocaranga allows me to understand how we can act as Caritas. Many people are giving us a very important help (Caritas Germany, Siriri.Org and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic, the parish of Cassina Amata in Italy ...) and this will allow us to work in many fields. First of all, the school: over 200 teachers from 64 elementary schools will receive a small monthly contribution, as encouragement and stimulus. Then our caring for the sick, the elderly and for those who have come back and have to build up a new home.
And, if we succeed, in January 2018, we will manage to have once more the Bozoum Agricultural Fair. Through the Fair farmers and cooperatives will be able, taking part, to have an opportunity to sell their products.