giovedì 26 gennaio 2012

Swimming in the seas of the globe, The action step

GOMA, The seat of the governorate. Padre Louis NZABANITA, Salvatore CIMMINO, Governatore Julien Paluku KAHONGYA, Padre Generale Raffaele MANDOLESI, Padre Paolo DI NARDO

The DRC (Democratic Republic of Congo) will be the venue of the next stage of “Swimming in the seas of the globe” – April 23-30, region of North Kivu, from Kiumba (on Idwji island) to Goma, 40 km. If this country had the means to exploit its rich resources – gas, oil, diamonds, gold, coltan (colombo and tantalite), and cassiterite (70% of the whole global supply) – due to its perfect geographical location, it would probably be one of the richest and welcoming places the world. On the contrary, as for almost all countries on the African continent, catastrophies caused by colonial wars and by nature, have prevented this wonderful nation to grow and develop in peace and democracy.

Today, the DRC is one of the poorest countries on Earth, and the presence in the territory of secular and religious organizations, along with the commitment of local authorities, is not effective enough to respond to the requests for help from people who live, unfortunately, in inhumane conditions.

In fact, services such as healthcare, mobility, education and security are completely inaccessible except by a few groups. In a so precarious society, corruption and organized crime are rampant and horrendously afflict the helpless people.

During my stay in Goma, where I went to arrange the next stage, I was hosted, aided and supported with love and skill by Father Paolo Di Nardo,a missionary in the DRC with the Caracciolini for almost 30 years, who during a meeting with the other civil and military authorities, described the enormous and scandalous hardship that the population is forced to face, which I could actually witness myself when visiting the Prosthesis Centre and the Centre of Mental Health in Goma.

The lack of the most basic means of survival tragically affects the population: 80 per cent of households can not afford to send their children to school, illiteracy is rampant, minor illnesses, such as a simple flu, almost always end up into a serious diseases, due to the absolute poverty that prevents access to medicines; the situation is even worse for people with disabilities: this condition is experienced by families as a shame – so much so that children born with birth defects are abandoned at night time – unpaved roads full of potholes, buildings without any provision for disability, almost non-existent assistance are absolutely negative factors that add to an existence that is in itself already exhausting. Finally, the total lack of security is an additional burden on a system where only the rich enjoy the benefits offered by this land, where huge wealth is smuggled away for personal convenience, leaving nothing to benefit the entire community.

I make an appeal to those companies that operate in the fields of prosthetic rehabilitation and assistance, so that they will step forward to cooperate and help change this sad reality. To improve and ensure a excellent health standards and to take care of children and adults with disabilities and illnesses is a precise duty of the Western world.

The Congolese public health system is now in extremely precarious conditions, in terms of structural and financial resources, and is not in a position to meet the need for prevention, care and treatment for the majority of the population.For years, the WHO denounced this grave reality, and it is therefore necessary and urgent to strengthen their means of intervention and support for these helpless people, so as to prevent their abandonment by the world community.

There are positive forces in the area , like the Caracciolini, tireless in their daily commitment , like Father Paul, whom I witnessed being always enthusiastic, to the younger priests who always make themselves available and are devoted to support their welcoming mission in ways that are very rare and almost unknown in the Western world. Or like Veronique, a brave and competent physiotherapist and, of course, Bishop Kaboy Ruboneka, who truly embodies the Christian precepts with unwavering determination. I believe they all need help in this important path of solidarity.

I hope that my return to Goma on 15 April, will bring good news to children, teenagers and adults assisted by the Hearing Center and the Center of Mental Hygiene, together with many gifts to give to the children living in Father Pauls’s orphanage.

Warm regards

Salvatore Cimmino

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