Please excuse my silence!
Laziness apart. . . I have not written anything because, for these two weeks, I have also been engaged in various trips. . .
Last week I was at Bouar (250 km), where we met with those in charge of Caritas in some of the parishes in this region. Caritas was well described by Paul VI in these words: “the hands and heart of the Church”. At times Caritas becomes confused with the many such like organizations, because it is often directly involved in projects of great importance and urgency. But Caritas is first of all the commitment of all Christians to spread and give witness to the love that they have received from God. For this, the parish dimension is important, with care, listening and hard work, in meeting people in need.
This week however, I left on Wednesday, around 1.30 in the afternoon, to go North. The roads are truly abominable, particularly in this the rainy season. . . I arrived at Ngaoundaye, 205 km away, around 6.30 in the evening. . .
The reason for the trip was to meet cooperatives, men and women who work together in various fields (agriculture, commerce, soap making or other food processing work). I wished to explain to them the value and importance of saving and credit.
Here at Bozoum we have a savings bank, and we intend to open another 3 branches at Ngaoundaye, Ndim and Koui.
Thursday morning there was a meeting at Ngaoundaye, then we set off for Ndim around 11 a.m. Here we met with the lady Mayor, and others in charge, then set off around three in the afternoon for Bocaranga.
Here I spent the night at the Catholic Mission, and yesterday, Friday, we set off around 6.30 a.m. for Koui, where we arrived at 8.00 a.m. – (one and a half hours to travel 40 km along the road. . . and I assure you, there was no traffic!!!)
Here we met with the Sultan!!!! He showed us the terrain he was willing to be used for the savings bank. Then, we had a meeting with the women and men of Koui. This is an interesting area, where once was a farm that produced milk, and a cheese factory that processed around 2,000 litres of milk a day! It seems science fiction, yet we are speaking of only 40 years ago. . .
At 11.00 in the morning we left for Bocaranga, and then reached Bozoum, just in time for a beautiful downpour. . .
Along the road, I like to see the schools, that timidly and slowly are reopening. . . more than a month late. . . I stopped to visit one, consisting of three huts, one covered with a tarpaulin. . . but the children were there, waiting for the teacher to begin lessons. . .