Tag Archive for Central African Republic

The Latest News from María Augusta from her Mission in the CAR

CentroafricaThe Comboni Lay Missionary María Augusta Pires, from Janeiro de Baixo, who is stationed in the mission of Mongoumba, Republic of Central Africa, took advantage of a trip to the capital city of Bangui to send us news. Let us pray for peace in that country and for all the missionaries! We relate here the text she sent to “El Astrolabio,”the paper of her parish on May 25:

I and the members of our apostolic community are in good health, thanks be to God.

We are in Bangui to do some shopping… Ana had planned her return on the 18th, but had to delay it until June 8. In any case, we had to come to the capital because our supply room was almost empty.

On June 12 Gervelais and his father are returning from Dakar. We are grateful to the Lord because the surgery was a success. I hope he will be happy and in good health.

On May 11, a patient of the hospital was shot dead. He had been accused of “likundu” (sorcery). We are all sad because of this. We hope that justice will be done and that the killers will be caught, starting with the authorities who denied him protection… We pray to the Lord that he may help us to defend people weighed down by this curse. There have already been several cases of people who were accused, but were protected by the mission or by courageous Christians. May the Lord of life stop this from happening anymore and that all Christians may find the strength to denounce this type of violence.

On May 1, in Bangui, in our parish of Our Lady of Fatima, during Mass, 16 people died and 100 were wounded because of a rebel attack. By the end 22 died, including a priest who was concelebrating. The people of this neighborhood still live in fear of being attacked again. Pray for these people who by now are tired of suffering…

God willing, I will not come back to Bangui before my departure for Portugal, because in June I will be very busy with the evaluation of the students and the conclusion of the course. On July 4 I will live CAR and will be in Lisbon by 5:00 PM. It will be like last year. God willing, I will return to my mission in early September. Cristina is energized and keeps on learning Sango, the local language.

Let us keep united in prayer, because it gives us strength and courage. A great missionary hug, as large as the world, to Fr. Juan and Fr. Orlando and to all the faithful entrusted to you. See you soon!

With great friendship

Maria Augusta

For the “Astrolabio”

ANO V – Nº 121 – 3 de Junho de 2018

Paróquias de Cabril, Dornelas do Zêzere, Fajão, Janeiro de Baixo, Machio, Pampilhosa da Serra, Portela do Fôjo, Unhais-o-Velho e Vidual

 

Logbook of Simone from the RCA

Simone Mongoumba

Hi to everyone. How are you doing? I hope you are well. Here the rainy season has begun and, to move around, we could use Noah’s ark. When it rains in Mongoumba, everything stops (I believe the same happens throughout the RCA), the children and the teachers do not come to school, you do not see anyone around and we could sleep all day long, lulled by the sound of the rain, and think of you in Portugal, Poland, Italy, all over the world. Mission has its pros and cons.

ESPERGESIA

I was born on a day
when God was sick.

Everyone knows that I live,
that I’m evil; and they don’t know
about the December of that January.
Since I was born on a day
when God was sick.

There’s a void
in my metaphysical air
that no one must feel:
the cloister of a silence
that spoke on the edge of a fire.

I was born on a day
when God was sick.

Brother, listen, listen…
Alright. And may I not go
without bringing Decembers,
without leaving Januaries.
Since I was born on a day
when God was sick.

Everyone knows that I live,
that I chew… and they don’t know
why there’s a squeal in my verse,
the dark uncertainty of a coffin,
from polished unrolled winds of the inquisitive
Desert Sphinx.

Everyone knows… And they don’t know
that the Light is consumptive,
and the Dark fat…
And they don’t know that the mystery encapsulates
that it’s the musical
and sad hunched back that denounces from a distance
the meridian step from the boundaries to the Boundaries.

I was born a day
when God was sick,
gravely sick.

(César Vallejo)

Simone Mongoumba

In this deep, thick, foreboding, sticky, penetrating, often desolated and discomforting night that envelops the entire Republic of Central Africa, there is lightning of blinding light lasting but an instant. It is the lightning of rifles, of shooting, of grenades followed by an awesome noise… and lightning of ESPERGESIA, lightning GENERATING HOPE.

In Bangui, in the neighborhood called Kilometro 5, in the parish of Our Lady of Fatima where I spent 45 days studying Sango, on May 1, feast of St. Joseph the Worker, during Mass, there was the lightning of weapons, shooting, of weapons, of grenades. It was a well-planned attack by people who want to see the night last forever. There were 16 victims.

We immediately perceived that the rumbling of the thunder of this explosion resounded around the world (someone even wrote to us from Brazil), we have felt the warmth of your nearness. We are OK. We were not direct witnesses. They tell us that slowly the situation is getting back to “normal.” In fact, that is how it is. After the lightning of weapons we have gone back to living in an even darker night.

Simone Mongoumba

In Mongoumbua there is lightning of ESPERGESIA, lightning GENERATING HOPE, infinitesimal, but of a blinding light: our visits to the Pygmies camps; Tuesday morning with the babies of the nutrition center; Sundays in the chapels for prayer with the community, sharing a bit of cassava and some small fish caught just for us; the Thursday meetings with a vocation group; the afternoons spent to draw and color; the endless hikes surrounded by cheering children; and the little newly born Pygmies, bundles looking at you with half open little eyes, who seem to tell you: “I was born on a day when God was sick, very sick,” butif I was born in this infernal night, there is still…

ESPERGESIA

Greetings, a hug and a kiss, prayers and THANKS

Simone CLM

News of our CLM Maria Augusta from the CAR

LMC RCAI hope that all our lay people are well and that everything is moving along normally. By the grace of God, our apostolic community is doing well.

We are again in Bangui, this time to bring in a kid who has a spine problem due to bone TB, called Pott Disease, to have him undergo surgery in Dakar under Dr. Omnimus, a French orthopedist who often comes to work in Mongoumba. He will leave on the 12th accompanied by his parents. We will take him to the plane at five in the morning. We are grateful to the Lord for being able to be here accompanying Gervelais and his father.

This was a journey fraught with uncertainties. We had planned to travel on Thursday in order to do our shopping and then return to Mongoumba on the 13th, but the barge that takes us cross the river crashed on Tuesday and only started working again on Friday afternoon. At one point we thought that we would have to call some missionary in Bangui to ask them to take Gervelais and his father to the airport. Yesterday, as we were crossing the river with the barge, there was a moment when we doubted we could continue the trip because a truck could not get off and it was necessary to have it dragged off by another loaded truck. As the saying goes “man proposes and God disposes.” God does everything right! He is the one who knows what is best for us. I pray to Mary to intercede for Gervelais and ask that he may regain his health and be well!

Belvia underwent surgery, they performed a full mastectomy. Still we do not know the results of the biopsies. We hope it will not be cancer… Now she is feeling better, has finished the treatment and now she takes some medications. She is quite happy, because she had been suffering a lot… May the Lord help her.

Ana left for Poland and, according to plans, she will be back in May. May the Lord give her a good vacation.

Cristina is well and in good spirits. She started to learn Sango. She already greets people in their own language and they are very pleased. She loves the mission. May God make her be this way during her entire missionary service.

Next month, our parish will celebrate the 50th anniversary of its foundation and, God willing, we will have a great celebration.

Let us stay united in prayer.

A missionary embrace from our community to all of you.

Maria Augusta, CLM

The Night of desires

LMC RCAMarch 12, 2018

Day 388 Remaining 712

Greetings to all, how are you? I hope well… this Christmas and New Year 2018 were a little strange, spent in the heat of the Central African Republic, wearing a summer T-shirt and eating Portuguese cod… 🙂

THE NIGHT OF DESIRES

It is NIGHT here! A deep NIGHT that envelops everything! A NIGHT that is not like all the other NIGHTS, because it is a perennial NIGHT! It is NIGHT even during the day! We live in this NIGHT, in an infinite present, we live as if there was not tomorrow!

Our schools would need to be restructured because the bricks are literally eaten up by the termites and, when it rains, they get flooded, and during the NIGHT they are inhabited by bats that make your stomach turn…

Our hospital have no medical supplies, there is no food for the patients, and those who need surgery must provide everything down to the last penny…

Our roads have potholes that look like craters because of the big trucks and the rain, and the average speed on the Bangui-Mongoumba road is around 30 km/h and the trip lasts 7/8 hours…

We would need a bridge on the River Lobaye or a new ferry because the big and heavy trucks of the foreign multinationals that transport our lumber from the forest have damaged it… We would need doctors, pediatricians, teachers, instructors, university professors to take care of the new generations, instead…

…more soldiers will come!

Perhaps I am the only one who does not understand how more soldiers may help us come out of this dark and deep NIGHT in which we live!!

The new year has brought us as a gift a new military base in our diocese of Mbaiki… the bulldozer arrived, it flattened an enormous area, it quickly dug a trench, it raised great dirt barriers and behold… a beautiful, new, secure UN military base… to protect us from whom? The Lobaye is the only peaceful area in the CAR!!!

Perhaps I am the only one who does not understand how more soldiers, more arms, more armored vehicles, more resources to keep them going, can help us get out of this dark and paralyzing NIGHT in which we live! Adding the risk that our NIGHT may become even more NIGHT. We are all like acrobats walking on the wire, risking to fall again in our fears, instead of finding the courage to get out of this NIGHT that seems to be eternal!

There is no money for the schools, for health care for salaries for our teachers, for the hospitals, for repairing our roads…

…but there is money for building a new military base and pay 900 soldiers…

Perhaps I do not understand!

Someone asked me what we would have DESIRED on Christmas NIGHT… and for 2018…

…a little bit of LIGHT…

The people who walked in DARKNESS have seen a great LIGHT…

…for those who lived in the shadow of death a LIGHT has shone… (Mt 4:16)

Greetings, a hug, a kiss, a prayer and THANK YOU…

Simone, CLM

News from our CLM Cristina Sousa in the RCA

RCAHi dear friends!

I hope you are doing well. I arrived in the CAR two months ago and still I have not put away my luggage but my heart is totally taken by Mongoumba.

Emotions here reach an intensity that is beyond us.

At the very moment when I think “I’m leaving” I feel that my life is growing roots here!

It is not easy to manage the unknown, it is not easy to accept what is different, it is not easy to control impotence, the difficulties… But it is in difficulties that we stop being blind, deaf, mute…

The process of adaptation is going “yeke, yeke” which is Sango for “a little bit at the time.” I have turned this expression into an “order” for my head.

On any one day my heart beats in different ways, it cries in the morning, it laughs in the afternoon and at night at times it does both.

I have already started my Sango classes. Simone says that Mr. Dominique, the professor, has already begun to speak Portuguese quite well. In spite of all this, I will let you into a secret I have: I am totally in love with five little Pygmies – Paul, Dimanche, Albert, Pauline and François. By coming to school they also have breakfast and lunch. They are my oxygen capsule where I feed my body and my soul. We play, we pray and we converse (truly, we converse). But you will say, how do we communicate? I have lots of fun when I am the object of their study. They investigate me in detail: hands, veins, the mark of an elastic band on my arm, they have regular sessions around my head and my hair is the topics of much discussion. On this las day Pauline discover a hole in my belly – my belly button. It was a great topic of conversation! (Ha, ha)

How not to fall in love with them?

I end by wishing all of you a Happy Easter.

May Lent be a time of deep reflection and conversion, but above all of “humanitarian” action and that this action may be the fruit of our prayers.

Kisses from all of us in the CAR.

May Jesus protect and enlighten us all, in particular the CAR children who are the true diamonds of Africa.

RCA

Cristina Sousa

CLM in the Republic of Central Africa

News from the Central African Republic

LMC RCAAll the members of our apostolic community are doing well, thanks be to God. It has been a while since I got in touch with you because, the roads being so bad, I avoid traveling to Bangui. The trip today, with all the stops, lasted eight hours. It becomes exhausting…

Today a new CLM arrived, Cristina who is from Gueifães, Portugal. She will study French a little more and then Sango, the local language. I pray to the Lord that she will adapt well and that she will learn Sango quickly in order to come to serve our people, especially the most neglected who are the Pygmies.

We brought with us a 17 year old girl who, beginning in 2016, started having a growth on her right breast. She had come earlier for tests, but they did not do anything to her and now it is as big as a football. On Sunday she started having pains on the other side and, since they came to ask for help, we took her along. They will begin with a total mastectomy and I hope it will only be a fibroma and not cancerous, that all may go well for her.

The episcopal ordination of Fr. Jesús went well. Eighty people came from Mongoumba and his two brothers, the sister-in-law, two nephews and four friends came from Spain. Out of his closest family, only his parents were missing because they are already 86, but they will celebrate their 63rd  wedding anniversary in February and their son will be celebrating the Mass of thanksgiving. It was an unforgettable feast! A week later it was repeated in Mongoumba. The church was packed and many people stood outside.

For the coming of Jesús we celebrated the novena of the Nativity with a good participation of the faithful.

At the beginning of January we had some very cold nights with temperatures reaching 10C, which is very cold for people who do not have proper houses or coats to protect themselves. I had never felt such low temperatures over here…

Always united in prayer.

A large friendly hug to all from CLM Maria Augusta