Cross Duathlon "V Centenario Santa Teresa de Jesus" in Alba de Tormes
By Amaya Álvarez.
Burkina Faso is a country with one of the lowest GDP of the world, many of its active qualified population goes to other countries looking to improve their future, ballasting even more the development. Multiple ethnicities with different traditions cohabit, with more or less conflict depending on the regions. In the roads, you see villages, I was going to say traditional, of adobe and hay, but they are not really traditional, they are just villages. It is the way where the most part of the population, that cultivates during the raining season, from June to October, lives. And that herds, in order with the tradition of their ancestors. As soon as you get own of the city you enter in a space where the time to our eyes has stopped, very far, you can feel, and then, a child goes by with a shabby T-shirt of Futbol Club Barcelona that shows you again that the world is connected even in the most unsuspected ways.
Burkina is a country whose force and human wealth is its biggest active and, inside this reality, the Carmelite Fathers, from Dédougou, work tirelessly from 23 years. They work on education and culture, they have projects of farms and orchards, libraries, schools… And they work from the base, from the one-on-one.
We ask Father Francisco Javier Abril to take us to Oulani, that is a center in the rural zone where every two weeks masses are made and there are pilgrimages, encounters... it is a little bit the center of catholic spirituality in a distant zone of big populations. On our way, we went through several villages, and in everyone, he waved people friendly, as a person who has walked all these places again and again. Some kilometers further, he asked us to stop in the house of a parishioner that she knew for a long time, that was too old to go to the church, so, he used to go there to give her the Eucharist. So I met a woman of more or less 80 years, matriarch of a big family that lived around her. She told me through the father that she was weak, and didn’t have the strength she wanted, nevertheless, it was enough with taking a look at her eyes to see that she has more strength and determination than all of us together. After some minutes, we continued our path. And I started thinking about the missionary work. Newly. Because a thing is thinking, and theorizing, but other thing very different is see what it means to renounce to all the communities we know, to go to those dusty roads, with an extreme heat, stopping in a place and in another to share some words and listening the problems and difficulties of the other day after day after day for many years. And that then they will say to you with all the sincerity of the world, it is a lot much what they receive that what they get.
The Carmelite family, as I lately like to call it, is very ample with a common base, a more concrete charisma always present, but that expresses in many different ways through the world.
Here in Burkina it is really shocking. Nuns and friars that gives their lives to God through devoting themselves to the others.
The title of this post comes from the places where we have being and that we have gone through that I feel incapable to recreate, but whose images, sounds and sensation will remain with us forever. For sure.
If something I am learning is that sometimes, although things are very tough, they are very gratifying. Meanwhile, bigger is the renounce and the effort, more beautiful is the result, maybe. Going out of the comfort makes you change references, see your life from other point of view.
Thanks again for the opportunity.