That we may learn to promote and live a more human economy, which places at its centre the most fragile people and those in need of a welcome and assistance, and progressively eliminates the wide and growing inequalities that exist in the world. Let us pray.
Today our economy is threatened by the constant changes in the world, in fact, I can not explain what people think when they hear the phrase, THE NEW WORLD ORDER, all this makes people sometimes stop to help the disadvantaged in our present, others continue their lives as usual.
I am Beatriz Maldonado Sanchez, a Mexican who works in a school in Sahuayo, my city, where the Comboni Missionaries of the Heart of Jesus arrived 70 years ago; at the moment I have a year that I am following the accounts of the international economy of the Comboni Lay Missionaries (CLM) movement, we have already been able to have a formation that helps us to have tools to generate the economic resources that we need in the CLM missionary project; but I still realize that nowadays the challenge is great, so I see that it is necessary to leave indifference to the situation and do simple things that make a difference in our economic reality.
As it was the case of the child Angel SUPPORTED me in the proposal to run a “CANDY STORE” for a month in the school where I work, to collect money and send it to the mission where the laity work; this is how we got 100 euros that we sent to the Central Committee so they can send to the group of Comboni Lay Missionaries who are in Mozambique and thus be able to support the activity of bringing food to the most disadvantaged.
Fortunately we also have people like Carmita Espinoza an Ecuadorian friend who knows our movement and she DONATED 20 euros for the international expenses that are generated, this is how we can join efforts when they are the work of different hands that contribute and their collaboration make that TODAY WE CAN BE COMMUNICATED, because they were placed in the international box that today is in crisis. So if you want to help in this project we invite you to get in touch from our official website or send a WhatsApp message to your servant at +52 5515 052 960, be part of this great construction for the Kingdom of God.
We can all give something that makes a difference and make history continue to be constructive in the face of challenging scenarios, all this is possible when you let yourself be conquered by the Love of God that can do anything.
Beatriz Maldonado, CLM Mexico
PODCAST 2 – BEGINNING WITH SONG “Essa Luta è Nossa Essa Luta è do pouvo…”
Hi, we are Anna and Gabriel, and this is Ciranda, the podcast about our mission experience in Brazil. In which we try to bring you into the everyday life experiences and choices of those who live in this part of the world.
Edvar Dantas Cardeal lives in a small village, on the outskirts of Açailândia, in the hinterland of Maranhão. Unfortunately, he still does not own his history, because he lives where no one would want to live. When he arrived in Piquiá, he really liked the name of the place, an homage to one of the region’s largest trees with delicious fruit, The Piqui.
The community of Piquiá de Baixo (so called because it is located in the area lower than the next neighborhood) was created in the 1970s, when this part of the region was still called “the gates of the amazonia,” rich in vegetation. People planted and fished from the river that kissed the banks of the community. It was a little paradise in the memories of the inhabitants.
Then in the 1980s, the “development” came, which even changed the name of the village to “Pequiá,” an acronym for “PetroQuímico Açailândia.” Açailândia itself, or “Açaí City,” another tasty fruit typical of the region, has lost the meaning of its name, where progress and respect for life cannot coexist.
Next to Edvar’s house were installed 14 steel furnaces, a thermal power plant, and, to top it off, a steel mill. The people of Piquiá did not even know what a steel plant was and what this would mean for their health, their lives, and that they would become little more than gears in this industrial machine. Companies came with manifestos of jobs, jobs for all, but the intent was always and only to settle there making the most at the least possible price, deceiving the community and destroying the way of life of those families.
It is 2005, Edvar heads to the small house of the Piquiá di Baixo inhabitants’ association of which he is a member, it might seem like just another day but perhaps he does not know that from that day began the real struggle and resistance of his community! He was tired of seeing iron dust fall from the sky and settle on every surface he finds. He sees friends and relatives increasingly starting to get sick, strong respiratory complications, skin infections, constant headaches, intestinal problems, exhaustion…his much-loved village was falling apart more and more.
Edvar waited 60 days before he was able to pick up a pen and a blank sheet of paper, he does not know how to start writing this letter, how to use the best words to tell about his community, but he knows for sure to whom it will be directed: To President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva!
Soon after time, the response arrived, with directions pointing to routes and public bodies that the community should seek out. The people of Piquiá soon realized that alone, though many, they would not be able to fight against a boulder the size of a steel mill, so little by little they managed to weave around them a strong network of allies, who took the community’s grievances and demands to international institutions, such as the UN. Thus the struggle that was started by Edvar became everyone’s, the community of Comboni Fathers and the associations that over time joined in this great resistance.
Of all the mobilizations carried out by the community over the years, some were very notable, such as the one that took place in December 2011, when hundreds of residents marched and blocked the super road that connects Açailândia to São Luís. The blockade lasted longer than 4 hours in a prolonged protest with burning tires. Another noteworthy protest was the one that forced the Steel mills to pay for expropriation, when residents made a real cooperative effort and, divided into shifts, closed the entrance and exit gates of the industries for 30 hours.
“We must do the possible in the impossible” was what Edvar repeated to his people in Piquiá, and this struggle, of all people, paid off. Through all this mobilization, the approval of the urban project for the new neighborhood was obtained on December 31, 2015. Due to bureaucracy, which is one of the tools of oppression of the poor, the resources to start the work were not made available until November 2018, when work began on a new Neighborhood: “PIQUIA DA CONQUISTA!
Edvar Dantas Cardeal died on January 23, 2020, a victim of the same disease he was fighting. His lungs were contaminated with iron dust, and his struggle ended after more than a month in the intensive care unit, due to respiratory failure and other complications.
Edvar Dantas, who started this struggle, will never see its end, but his ideas and hope live on in the new people of Piquiá da Comquista!
The struggle, therefore, is still ongoing and its outcome is open to debate.
The community’s achievements have been significant, especially considering the disproportion in scale between the local community and the national/global industry. Perhaps this is why the claims of the Piquiá de Baixo Community transcend the local struggle and become a larger banner that exposes the other side of development agendas. At the same time that it reaches international levels (such as the UN), this struggle takes place on the ground of the community, in direct human relations, as so well expressed in the letter that Mr. Edvard wrote to his nephew Moisés: The beauty of this battle is that we do not get tired, and when there is a defeat we react with more enthusiasm and conviction: it is very clear that we are victims, there is an obvious injustice! The law cannot be wrong: we will be compensated! Sometimes even grandparents delude themselves and dream like an inexperienced young person…. After all, it is hope that sustains us. But I learned, Moses, that hope is a child who needs two older sisters: patience and wisdom.
“ONE DAY, YOU NEW GENERATIONS, WILL TELL THIS STORY IN THE NEW NEIGHBORHOOD: PIQUIA DA CONQUISTA!”
This is the ciranda song; it is danced in a circle, each member hugging his or her neighbors and moving to the rhythm by stamping their feet loudly. This song is a dance related to the Brazilian folk tradition.
YOURS EDVAR DANTAS, PRESENT!
Anna and Gabrielle, CLM in Brazil
Last Saturday we were able to enjoy a formation on Comboni Missionary Spirituality given by the Comboni Missionary, Fr. Vittorio Moretto.
A formation that goes through the central aspects of this missionary spirituality and gives us clues on how to live our missionary vocation as Comboni Lay Missionaries.
We encourage you to watch it in community.
The session is recorded in Spanish.
On October 27, we flew to Ethiopia. This is our third trip. The journey was smooth and we arrived in Addis Ababa on time. We were picked up from the airport by Sister Janina – a Franciscan nun who has been in Ethiopia for over a dozen years.
The next day we continued our journey to our place of stay, to Awassa, to Magda Soboka, who founded and runs the Ethiopian Children’s Foundation “Barkot”, to help her in her work in the Foundation.
Magda’s Ethiopian husband received us at the bus station and welcomed us very warmly.
A surprise was waiting for us, prepared by Sister Franciscan Missionary of Mary, a Pole, Kamila from Łódź, who works at the hospital in Bushulo as a midwife and nurse. Her parents came from Poland to visit her for the first time (and she has been here for 8 years). The surprise was a five-day trip deep into Ethiopia to various tribes and missions led by the Spiritan Fathers.
The trip lasted 5 days. It started on October 30 and ended on November 3.
On the first day we stopped in Arba Minch at the Spiritan fathers’ house. On the way we visited the Park of 40 Springs.
On the first day we went on a boat trip on Lake Chamo, where we saw crocodiles. Then we went to the Dorze tribe, where we were dressed up in their tribal, festive costumes, and they treated us with a cake made of banana leaf flour, alcohol and home-made honey. It was a great experience. Their houses are shaped like a crocodile’s snout. Returning to the mission for the night, we stopped at a factory for hand-made silk and silkworm breeding. We learned about the process of manual production of fabrics, which were also used to sew finished products (scarves, bags, blouses, etc.). It was a very fruitful day.
At dawn after Holy Mass on November 1, we said goodbye to the fathers and continued our journey. We visit the land of the Mursi tribe in Konso. This tribe has been in Ethiopia since the 15th century. They began to build their houses on the mountain, and the entrance to the village and houses leads through small stone corridors, so that no unauthorized person can get in, and forms three circles around the mountain. This tribe cultivates its traditions and customs, creates a community,
We reach Jimma in the evening for an overnight stay at a guesthouse and dinner.
Very early in the morning we leave the guesthouse and set off in the rain to the village of the Turmi tribe. The rain stopped, and we, with a guide and security, visited the village of the tribe which according to the old tradition, places plates on the lower lip of the mouth, and the warriors paint themselves. This tribe changes its place of residence every 3-4 months, looking for food for its flock – it is a pastoral tribe. The inhabitants of this tribe go naked, sometimes covering themselves with a blanket. An interesting fact for tourists is that in the evening there is the “ewangadi” ceremony, there are various shows, bull jumping, dances, etc. When a man from this tribe wants to get married, he must show courage and strength, jump over 6 bulls, and a woman whips herself. The Ethiopian government wants this tribe to dress and send their children to school, but they do not want to and destroy the clothes because it is not their culture. During the day, the men are out hunting. In the village we only saw women and children.
We go to Yabello to spend the night with the Spiritan missionaries. The Missionary Fathers run a boarding house for older boys and girls studying. They encounter great difficulties in employing teachers because teachers want very high salaries that fathers cannot afford. Right now, they would love to see a volunteer who would teach English and computer science. Of course, there are problems with work permits, so such a volunteer could only work for three months.
Unfortunately, the trip ends quickly and we return to Awassa, visit a bamboo hotel along the way, eat at the Inka restaurant and go home in the evening. It was a wonderful trip, full of new information about the life of some Ethiopian tribes and the activities of the mission. It introduced us to the culture and customs of the Ethiopian tribes.
However, we did not come here to rest, we need to start doing something for others. We visit the Center of the Missionaries of Charity of Mother Teresa and Andrzej was offered few tasks: in the emergency room and in carpentry work. The sister superior, a Belgian, welcomes him very warmly. I will try to help Magda, and there is plenty of work.
Bogusia and Andrzej.