Christmas, time for contemplation
We are in Bajawa, Indonesia, a town of just over 5000 inhabitants in the middle of the island of Flores nestled between extinct volcanoes and full, filled to overflowing with smiles.
From the first moment, when you land an airplane propeller on a track that ends in a beach, with chickens running around, you feel in another world.
A few hours drive from the small airport, is Bajawa, the road is a succession of vegetation, palms and bamboo. The island is still tremendously virgin. No resort tourist, no building.
Within a predominantly Muslim country, Flower Island is a predominantly Catholic exception, specifically here, en Bajawa, There are a lot of presence Carmelita.
Returning to the subject of Smiles, is literally impossible to walk down the street without everyone moose one hand and greet you, albeit from afar, if you go by motorbike or car, children and adults smile and wave. Younger, hiding her face in her hands in embarrassment, approach and tell you: “Hello mister, what´s your name?”. When you answer them, they laugh a lot.
The first day, the day of our arrival, an entourage waiting for us, with several hundred people and traditional music, a parade with dancing and parishioners walked us to the Parish of Saint Joseph. Very colorful and cheerful, all the people came our way. Once there, There was a prayerful moment and a subsequent mass in which we were introduced to each of the team members.
Well, after that first time, is most common that while I walk around the village and greet me by my name. Everyone approaches me to shake my hand and mix their English with my three words in Indonesian, three, literally. Curiosity and expressed joy with full transparency.
An innocence live, almost unknown purity look for who has grown into a major city across the globe. I could spend hours talking about people Bajawa, certainly, feed obsessed to the point of having dinner several times in order to avoid disappointment or dissatisfaction. Nevertheless, I'll go on the other hand.
I am often asked what is most impressive I've experienced so far in this pilgrimage. A point to note. I hate that question because I think that there have been so many moments so special and incomparable with each other, that can not be answered. Of course we can talk about the visit to Auco, but also breakfast in the parlor of the nuns of Porto Alegre, watching videos and telling things in life, for instance.
I do not know measuring time. And I understand the question, the most spectacular or flashy, the peculiar, but ... Sometimes a very tiny generates you more than an endless fireworks. The way a mother looks at you with all the wisdom of the world in her eyes, takes your hand and gives you tapped full of affection, encouragement and approval, connect with your spirit, and gives you what you need at that time. For it is not very striking. But it is a great time. Although I suspect that is not the answer you want a journalist.
However today, you here, We experienced one of those moments that you know you will not forget for life, and I will tell all reporters from now. Of those grandiose deploying an incredible spectacle before your eyes and you have to very nearly wipe, and you know it, very hard, You never see anything like it. And that, of course, is impossible to capture with the camera rather than fired in all directions.
Where to start?
Today there was a large mass in Bajawa, everyone brought canes to be blessed, the parish was full. With plastic chairs and wooden benches, open to the public and full choir, a calculation that should congregate 3000 people. Beautiful ceremony with a choir of more than 50 young. During the Mass began to rain incredibly, gallons of water falling from the sky, we were concerned that after the Mass there was a procession and had seen since the morning a lot of people preparing the way.
We asked to do, but did not need to do anything. For when the Mass ended the sky had subsided and even you could see some star. Began the pilgrimage. Here I have to make a point, sometimes even know the program many things always catch us by surprise, i.e., start happening around us and, for a moment, do not know whether to go left or right, there is always a friendly hand directing us. But before the crowds of people moving and trying to photograph, I got lost in the crowd. And it was wonderful that I could swim prevent what was about to see. Around the town there was a path created with candles, thousands of candles, the exaggeration, kilometers of candles. All those attending the Mass, plus hundreds of people waiting on the road with more candles joined yet. We became a river of light that moved between these guides candles and colored flags. All the way, over 4 hours away and all magically lit, every few feet was a small home altar and behind families and children always showed him proud. I climbed as high as I could, but with all the darkness and only the tinkling dots was impossible to take a picture, move, Dark, or simply not understood were those dots. So I left the camera aside and devote for a moment to enjoy the show.
The air clean and humid because of the rain, the smell of vegetation, night in absolute silence except for the hum of people praying and all those candles showing the way. Indescribable. Thousands of people accompanied the cane, all the people and part of the mountain ran. Just in the parish of St. Joseph Convent late at night. It was amazing and wonderful and I can only refer you to the video of Indonesia, to see if Paul was able to capture a little better than I, magic and beauty of the procession of light in the night indonesia.
Terima Kasih , Bajawa!.