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Monday, February 19, 2018

A brand new Bishop

A brand new Bishop
Saturday morning, February 10th, since before 5.00am the church square of Bozoum is already full of people. Trucks and cars are ready, and at 5.15 we leave for Bouar, with a delegation of 110 parishioners, to participate in the consecration of the new bishop of Bouar, Mirek Gucwa.
I went ahead a bit before the group to organize the welcome of all the participants.
The diocese of Bouar includes 12 parishes, and for each one a delegation of 50 people will be welcomed by the various communities of the city of Bouar. There’s an air of “church”.
The ordination of the Bishop is an exceptional event. Created in 1978, the diocese of Bouar had had for almost forty years only one bishop, Monsignor Armando Gianni. For the occasion, the Apostolic Nuncio and all the bishops of the Country are present, together with the bishop of Tarnow (Poland) from whom the Abbé Mirek comes. They have in common not only the nationality but they have been also companions in the seminary and priestly ordination. Were present also 2 Bishops from Cameroon.
At 9.00am on Saturday morning there is a meeting between some bishops and the Christians who have come for the occasion from the entire diocese: almost 3 hours of catechesis about the bishop's role and ministry, held by Cardinal Nzapalainga of Bangui, and by the bishops of Mbaiki, Bangassou, Alindao ... Between interventions, songs and friendly conversations, time passed quickly.
Sunday is the big day. Everything is organized to perfection. And at 8.30am Mass begins: 12 bishops, a hundred priests, and about 3,000 faithful fill the great Cathedral. After a brilliant homily by the Cardinal (in French and in Sango), we pass to the actual rite: the bishops present, after invoking the Holy Spirit, pray and lay their hands on Mirek, while two deacons hold high the Gospel book. And Mirek becomes Bishop Mirek. Immediately afterwards he receives the signs of his ministry: the Miter, the Crozier and the Ring.  After the intense moments of the offertory, the Consecration and Communion, we are ready to listen to the sermon of the new Bishop. It is good to hear (both from the Cardinal and the new Bishop) that the Diocese of Bouar is rich in charity and deeds (schools, hospitals, agriculture) but also in religious communities that are dedicate with joy and generosity to the poorest. In the end the new Bishop passes among the congregation blessing "his" people, which welcomes him with great joy and emotion!
In the afternoon I go back to Bozoum, together with the Sisters. And on Monday and Tuesday we organize with the girls and boys of the St. Augustin High School a two-day cultural event: sketches, dances, songs, debates. All this because the school does not limit itself to merely technical aspects, but presents a complete "formation".
Wednesday 14th is Ashes Day: we begin our Lent on Mount Binon. A long journey of conversion and deepening of our love for God.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Brick by brick.

Brick by brick.
The just ended Bozoum Fair represents a very important moment of development.
The NGOs and the UN Agencies who would have looked after the Agriculture and its development are practically absent. Despite that, the Fair is in constant growth. The sale results are more than doubled compared to the last 2 years. But what it's really important for the cooperatives and the farmers is that the Fair has become a fixed meeting. It's also an advantage the fact of its independence from NGO and UN, it means more freedom and projects closer to the needs and abilities of the people.
Last week I witnessed the realization of another dream. In January 2017 I went to South Africa to see and buy machineries to make bricks. The machines arrived and in January the production started. About 20 young men are learning to make bricks and to lay them. The production is about 3000 a day, the bricks are solid (very strong) and can be joined by locking, without cement. So, we started the construction of an Agricultural School in Bangui: this will allow the many young people to receive a basic formation for a valid job.
This week in Bozoum we finally started a radio station. Thanks to NGO Internews, we have started the process to create a Community Radio. There is much expectation and the radio could help a lot, both information and formation. On Wednesday morning we had a very important meeting with the many Bozoum city Groups, in order to elect a Comity, who will prepare the opening of the Radio Station. The Comity now has been formed. The name of the station has been chosen: Radio KOYALE (the name of the small river crossing the city).
This week will end up with the trip to Bouar for the consecration of the new Bishop, l'Abbe' Mirek, on Sunday Feb. 11th. We will go with a group of 100 people from Bozoum. For this occasion we started a diocese blog:
Brick by brick ...a large House is growing!

Fine della Fiera
fin de la Foire

Bangui: Visita della Presidente del Bambin Gesù di Roma, Mariella Enoc


Friday, February 2, 2018

Agricultural Fair 2018. 2

gli orti di Bozoum
les jardins potagers de Bozoum

Agricultural Fair 2018.  2
This year since the beginning of the Bozoum Fair, 14 years ago, for the first time the Bozoum Agricultural Fair did last three days instead of the usual two.
The opening day it was Friday January 25th while Saturday 26th was dedicated to special visits. While the fair was going on normally, with the exhibition, sales and trade, the three Ministers of the Government and other guests went to visit the rice fields and vegetable gardens.
Saturday morning I guided everyone to the Center Rizicole Bohoro: a center created in the ‘70s by the Chinese, which is kind of model for the rice fields. The rice, unlike other products, has a fairly high price (around 60 euro cents a kilo). Moreover, thanks to the fact that some Organizations buy the rice in large quantities, the farmers decided for a larger production. Compared to 2016, from the 12 hectares of early stage of cultivation we reached now 32 cultivated hectares. As well for the yield: from the past 35 tons to today 192 tons, with the result of an improvement from 2.91 tons per hectare to the actual 6 tons.
Saturday afternoon is the time of the visit to the vegetable gardens of Bozoum: a dozen families and small cooperatives grow salad, tomatoes, onions, peppers, spinach, potatoes and much more for consumption and sale. Visiting these gardens is always exciting: it is a joy for the eyes, and for the heart!
On Sunday, after the celebration of the Masses, we go back to the Fair: sales are proceeding well, and the students of our “St Augustin” High School are busy to help exhibitors getting ready with the cards showing the achievement of their sales. In the meantime everything is ready for the award ceremony, which starts at 11am. It is a long awaited moment: the best vegetable gardens and the best exhibitors of the fair are rewarded. There is a lot of suspense, and it is nice to see that among the winners there are many who came from far away and a good number of women. A small but well deserved recognition of the fatigue and sweat of so many people. In the evening the closing of the Fair, though the sales go on until Monday. And the result of all this great effort is very encouraging: the cooperatives have achieved an income of over 60,000,000 CFA francs (over 91,500 Euros; 114,000 USD). And already on Monday evening, thanks to the exceptional work of Maurizio Dischino and Francesco, the Bozoum Fair was broadcast in Italy on TV2000. Here is the TV Report:

Visita alle risaie
Visite au Centre Rizicole

Foto con il Ministro dell'Agricoltura e il Ministro dell'Allevamento
La photo avec les Ministres de l'Agriculture et de l'Elevage

Aggiungi didascalia

Monday, January 29, 2018

Agricultural Fair 2018. 1

Agricultural Fair 2018.  1
Finally here we are again with the great Bozoum Agricultural Fair. Are at present 14 years we have been promoting this initiative. It’s the only one of its kind in the whole Country: dozens of small cooperatives on an area of 220 km, bring the agricultural products here, taking care of their display and trading them. It's a three-day festival, of exchanges, of trade. It is the peasant pride party. A dozen or so trucks were loaded with corn, millet, beans, peanuts, sesame, cassava, rice and what was produced by families and small cooperatives. The trucks arrive from Ngaundaye, Ndim, Bocaranga, Taley and other areas, within 220 km.
This year we have about 180 cooperatives. For the occasion our Caritas (with the support, this year of the Friends for the Central African Association) organizes the transportation of the merchandise, the organizing of the stands, the reception of the visitors and everything a similar event requires.
Over the years, the Fair has grown, becoming an important event for the all region and for the Country. It is the only Agricultural Fair. For the occasion, the President of the Central African Republic wanted to come and see for himself. At the last moment other important commitments didn’t allow him to come, but he still wanted to send three Ministers (Agriculture, Breeding and Youth).
This year, given the increasing volume of exhibited products and trading, the Fair lasts 3 days. This morning, Friday, there was the inauguration. Tomorrow we will continue until Saturday closing with the awarding of prizes to the best exhibiting cooperatives.
We go on with our peasant pride!

Le varie tappe del riso
les différentes ètapes du riz