I am writing my last blog post from home in Montreal. With the airport in Bamako closed, I was driven by our friends at Caritas Mali to neighbouring Burkina Faso (14 hours) so that I could fly back to Montreal from Ougadougou (Thank you Gaston and Seydou!). When we arrived, I was reunited with my colleague Geneviève, who is working with Caritas Burkina Faso – OCADES in order to launch food distribution activities (training staff at the Diocesan level, finding food suppliers, etc.).
On the eve of my departure, I met the Archbishop of Bamako, Most Rev. Jean Zerbo. "The appearance of radical elements in the north of the country has certainly complicated the situation. These groups can be added to existing drugs and arms dealers, and secessionists. We, the representatives of the Catholic Church, along with Muslim and Protestant leaders, have launched an appeal for calm, solidarity and prayer." He also told me that he had to cancel activities at their Training Centre to use it to welcome Christian families fleeing violence in the north. "The other day, I went to visit some of the families there who are in complete disarray. They had to leave everything behind when they fled. The parents were upset to see the kids running and squabbling in the small space, I saw a sign of hope: children who did not know each other when they arrived, are now playing together and rebuilding their lives. This confidence must guide us. It’s the resurrection." I don’t have the talent to describe to you the emotion that was felt in the room at the moment, where even as we spoke, we could hear shots in the distance, and the wife of Gaston Goro (Emergencies Officer at Caritas Mali) had just called to say that there were confrontations happening in their neighbourhood. His message of hope left us speechless and overwhelmed.
Development and Peace has now launched an appeal on the hunger and humanitarian crisis that is currently happening in the Sahel region of West Africa. Thank you for donating.