Monday afternoon I went to the north: Bocaranga (125 km), Ndim (40km more), Ngaundaye (40 km more), Bocaranga (75 km). all in all was about 500 km on bad roads, bridges made of fantasy (most of the time the whole path is missing), holes, stones and lots and lots of dust!
We left at 2 pm on Monday, with Karol and Ludmila, a couple from Prague. He’s an architect who planned our secondary school. He’s in Bozoum to work on the “Student House” project: a couple of houses for kids attending middle and secondary school that are coming from too far (Ndim, 160 km, e Bossemptele, 90 km).
We got to Bocaranga at 5 pm (it took us 3 hours for 125 km). Dropped by to say hello to monks and nuns and back on the road for the last 38 km (another hour and a quarter). In Ndim we met two Rwandese sisters from the Misericordiae institute they took us in for dinner and we spent the night there, made us all better!
Tuesday morning, whilst Karol and Ludmila were paying a visit to the schools and to the small hospital run by the nuns, i went to check on the Mutual Saving Bank Agency.
Later on I finally took care of the main reason for this trip: buying 350 goats!
Since May, last year, we decided to help out (with the financing of Finn Church Aid, an NGO of the Lutheran Church of Finland) 7 villages between Bocaranga and Mann, where rebels and military soldiers had raged causing many people to run away. In order to help them stay and get back on track, we delivered corn, peanuts and beans seed last May. Crops have been very satisfactory, to such an extent to let them participate at the Agriculture Fair in Bozoum on the 26-27 January and gave them the chance to sell their products for a sales value of 12k.
Last part of the project includes delivering…goats! We’ll buy 350 goats to be allocated to less fortunate people, to get them started on small breeding farm.
In Ndim we got started on the purchase, will be handled by local vet. We also found a place for them to be kept on hold until he makes sure all is ok and we will deliver them in good health….
Late morning we arrived in Ngaundaye, tha last village on the border. Here the Capuchin monks received us and we met a Polish nun’s community one is from Italy and another one is French.
In the afternoon we went to the big Market of Mbaiboum, in Cameron, where I got the meds for the goats. Came back in the evening (just in time before curfew) had dinner with the nuns… Karol and Ludmila managed to speak with the Polish ones and i spoke to Renata and Chantal.
Wednesday morning we went to Bocaranga, through a different route. Here are the villages we are helping out. We stopped in Mann, then off to Bereguili, where we met the locals and i explained the goats situation. Village chief invited us over for lunch with his family (5 wives and 35 sons…) we had chicken and manioca. Really delicious!
Their welcome and their care for us is really moving and makes one forget the soaring back pain ….
We arrived in Bocaranga at 1pm, had a bite with the monks then off to say hi to 3 catechists.They are here with their families and are studying for their cathechism work. Here in Central Africa, especially in these villages a catechist seen as a referring point in the Christian community, therefore is a very important figure. As a matter of fact, priest might drop by twice or three times per year in these areas.
At 2 pm we hit the road again and we finally arrived in Bozoum where our beautiful porch awaits!