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Tuesday, November 24, 2015

The Pope's visit is getting closer...

The Pope's visit is getting closer...
Sunday 15 I leave Cameroon going back to Central Africa. To get to our convent of Carmel we need to make a few turns to avoid passing through areas still dangerous. At Carmel I meet the journalist Maurizio Dischino and the cameramen Charles Petruzziello sent by TV2000. They are in Central Africa to prepare some reports in view of the Pope's visit. Around the Cathedral there are ongoing works to pave and prepare everything for the arrival of Pope Francis, scheduled for November Sunday 29 and Monday 30. During these days I’m receiving calls and emails all asking how we are getting ready for this event. It is not easy to say, because we are experiencing alternate feelings of hope and gratitude for the choice of this Country and for the willingness of Pope Francis to come to Bangui on one side, and the feelings of frustration in the face of constant attacks in the capital and in front of general insecurity on another side. We are anxious because we do not know for sure if he can make this step, even if he attaches to this visit such great importance. Security is very fragile and yet these days some neighborhoods have seen fighting and looting. There’s a serious need to think about the safety of the Pope, and this already isn’t easy. Then there is the safety of those who want to come and see him during the Celebrations or on the streets. This is even more difficult to ensure. But the best part is that the waiting is still so high. The Central Africans, from senior officials to the simplest people understand that the visit of Pope Francis is an extraordinary moment. It is the first trip of Pope Francis in Africa, and it is he who wanted and insisted on coming in Central Africa. Pope Francis has no magic wand, no resources like the United Nations, no weapons. Humanly speaking his visit will not solve the big problems of Central Africa, at war for over three years. But he carries and embodies the presence of Christ, His passion for the weak and the suffering, the love of God the Father who loves and forgives. Will open right here in Bangui the Holy Door of the Jubilee of Mercy: a huge gesture, which puts Central Africa at the center of the world of Mercy. This is why we hope to see him. And we hope that his voice is welcomed and listened carefully. The actual reality can change, because things may really change.


si rivedono le immagini registrate in questi giorni con i confratelli carmelitani

Maurizio Dischino

Si fa il pieno
On fait le plein de carburant

un SMS che annuncia in Sango l'arrivo di Papa Francesco in Centrafrica, messaggero di Pace
Un SMS qui annonce en Sango l'arrivée de Pape François en RCA, messager de Paix

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

A crazy world.

Aerorporto di Bangui, con i 40.000 rifugiati...
L'Aéroport de Bangui, avec 40.000 déplacés

A crazy world.
I’m travelling in Cameroon to visit our Carmelite Communities in Yaounde, the country capital. It`s here I received the terrible news of Paris attempts: lot of sadness and the sensation to discover ourselves so fragile, exposed to any danger and above all, to the madness of who isn`t afraid to use God to kill and destroy. But also a world, the European and western, who seem more and more on its way to auto destruction and to waste away the very roots of its life and history.
I did leave Bozoum on Monday on a small Unite Nations plane for Bangui which I reach at about 3pm, a little disturbed by the many vibrations and air pockets encountered on this flight. On Tuesday I leave Bangui for Douala (the economic capital) and the next day I reach Yaounde, where I`m embraced by our Nkolbisson community, in here there are fathers of different nationalities (2 from my religious Province) and young men in training. I`m here particularly to meet the 2 young central Africans, Br. Christo and Br. Michael, who are here to study theology.
The city of Yaounde is quite large, with a very chaotic traffic and with a multitude of people who buys sells and trade. It`s impressive to witness people ability to devise themselves a job! On Saturday, in our Nkoabang parish, I take part to the solemn Profession of 2 young men from Cameroon, Br. Jean Baptiste and Br. Martial: it`s their final vow to the young Cameroons Carmelite family. We are many, in a church crowded with people, but and especially full of colours, dances and prayers. After the ceremony (which began at 10:30 and ended at 2.00pm) I eat a bite with the guests of honour and soon after I leave for Douala. I thought to do it by plane, but the company cancelled the flight, so I travelled with a bus low-cost........with less than 5 euros I have the right to a seat and also to some shows!!! The bus stops frequently to let people off and on. At those places, where there is a line up, many peddlers come on board with bottles, peanuts, fried bananas etc... At the end, a real true charlatan comes on board, he advertises water, sweets and he easily succeeds on selling because of his well-liked manners! At 10 pm, after covering 250 km in 5 hours, I finally reach Douala and find a room.
Now I`m ready to return to Central Africa, where preparations are well advanced for the Papal visitation on November 29-30 but also where the tension is still very high!

Fr.Jean Baptiste con il Provinciale di Milano, p.Attilio

Saturday, November 7, 2015

The war goes on...

The war goes on...
Unfortunately, after almost three years since the beginning of the disturbances at Central Africa, the situation has not improved. In Bangui, in particular, there are fights and killings, mostly among Muslims and non-Muslims. Every incident becomes a cause of retaliation, killing, looting and destruction, with evil consequences for the people, which is compelled to flee, leaving houses and those few belongings that hardly could gain, to go to take refuge in the various sites, from the airport to the different Missions and Churches.
In our convent of Carmel, the refugees, who have dropped down below 2,000 in September, now they have increased, with new arrivals, to quota 7,400. All of these refugees are fleeing from nearby neighborhoods, which have become battle zone and looting. The road from Bangui to Bossemptele and Cameroon, the only way through which the Capital can get provisions, fuel and goods, is practically blocked for over 45 days. This is the real situation in less than a month from Pope Francis visit to Central Africa (November 29-30).   We do not know if he can come, as we cannot know if we can go and meet him.
Wednesday afternoon I'm traveling with the new Sisters of Bozoum (Sr. Lydie, Sr. Christine and Sr. Annita) to accompany them for a short visit at the center of the diocese. We make a first stop in Baoro, where we stay with the fathers and the sisters to celebrate the name day of Fr. Carlo. Thursday we reach Bouar, where we meet the bishop, the Clarisse nuns and the various communities. We have the joy of seeing Fr. Mathieu, a Polish priest who was kidnapped in November 2014 and released after about three weeks. On Friday morning, beside some meetings, we go buying medicines for the dispensary. Early afternoon we leave under heavy rain. The roads continue worsening: from Bossemptele to Bozoum, 87 km, it takes now 2 ½ hours of driving. We reach Bozoum to 7.15pm just in time for dinner. The warm welcome by many communities is always a beautiful sign of love and communion.

Moto, bidone da 200 litri, bagagli, autista e passeggero... e belle strade
sur la moto: un fut de 200 litres, des bagages, le chauffeur et un passeger... sur des routes très belles

Sr Lydie, Sr Annita et Sr Christine

Il centro per i malnutriti di Maigaro, con suor Giulia
le centre pour les malnurris de Maigaro, avec sr Giulia

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Last rains

la Farmacia di Rollin
La Pharmacie de Rollin

Last rains
Is about to finish the rainy season, which in our Country begins in April-May and ends between October and November. It is a very busy time for the agricultural work. The climate is very moist, but the heat is acceptable. The roads are worse by the day, a middle way between a swimming pool, a sea of mud and potholes and gullies. The rainy season is reaching its natural end. On these very days in the Capital there were other clashes between Muslims and non-Muslims. By now the tension is so high, that it takes nothing to blow up in a pandemonium. Killings and reprisals; houses, churches and mosques burned. People flee and take the road to the refugee camps: the airport, some school, and many missions. Even in our convent of Carmel have arrived at least a thousand people! Here in Bozoum the situation remains fairly quiet, but the roads are becoming dangerous, particularly the road to Bangui, which is blocked by bandits who take advantage of the disorder attacking, looting and killing. In Bozoum the school continues. These days I visited some of the small business "start-up" that, with the help of our friends SIRIRI.ORG Prague (by the way: on the street signs Prague is turned into Traha!!!) the students of our high school have opened, after a positive achievement at the end of high school. These are the new business: trade, gardens, a pharmacy, a "computer services center", a shop selling drinks. The imagination has no limits, the same for our hope to help them to build up something solid and sustainable. "The saint Michel", the newspaper of Bozoum, is now on newsstand.  Enjoy the reading!

scrivere richiede impegno!
pour écrire, il faut s'y mettre!

il centro servizi informatici
le Centre de services informatiques

la rivendita bevande
le depots de Boisson de Peo Amos

il mercato di Bozoum
le marché de Bozoum