Arriving at the little airport of Jí-Paraná and being hotly welcomed by 30 plus degrees.
José was waiting for me by the exit to take me to his home. There Rose and their three children welcomed me into the family with much affection.
Rose works at the Padre Ezequiel Ramin Institute where they pursue several projects that attempt to keep alive the legacy of Fr. Ezequiel of justice for all.
We had a short time to visit the institute and learn about their activities. They are undergoing some changes, but they will soon be at 100%.
During these days I had the opportunity to visit an indigenous village of the Arara. Rose worked for over 12 years in the pastoral of the indigenous people. She knows all the families and wanted to show me some of the real situations. We spent a morning there visiting the families of the village, talking and laughing with them.
Very often in Brazil their land is invaded, access to education and health care is complicated and the lumber companies attempt to appropriate as much as they can. They say that also the arrival of television has brought about many changes in a short time.
Rose, a CLM living in the area for the past 14 years comments that the Amazons is an area where everyone come to take something away, be it from the land or from the people.
Her husband, José, works in the pastoral of the land. He as well tells me of the many problems of occupation, such as of those who are looking for the rights to their land and some who turn it into a business, the violence with the landowners and other types of violence.
He is carrying on an activity along the lines of Fr. Ezequiel Ramin, a Comboni Missionary murdered 30 years ago. He tells me about the farmers’ movements that are pushing for an agrarian reform, to obtain land for the small farmers. He speaks of the invasion and destruction of the Amazon Basin by economic interests, of the gunmen who keep on killing and on making leaders who make them uncomfortable disappear.
He tells me about some of the cases followed, documented and helped by the pastoral of the land, not all of them, because not everyone acts in a proper way. This is an activity that is not looked upon in a positive way by many and that becomes difficult.
We came close to an encampment, but, just as he suspected, it had already been abandoned because of the pressure they were under. We avoided going to other places that were in a situation of conflict. I am sending you some pictures of the abandoned camp.
I am very grateful to the entire family that has allowed me to be part of their life for a few days. I cannot forget to give thanks to God for the life of commitment and service to the most needy by our CLM in Brazil.
Today will be a long day of travel. Starting at 8:00 in the morning by road to Porto Velho and then continuing the journey at 2:00AM by plane to Imperatriz by way of Brazilia, then more night travel up to Açailândia.