Fr Luigi Savoldelli sm, sent this news, at the end of last year, from District's Laudato Si Project in Cameroon: Dear friends of the poor, I hope you are all well. Here in Cameroon the rainy season is ending, thank God this year has been more lenient than in previous years and has not done much damage. The work, in accordance with Pope Francis' Encyclical Laudato Si, continues well, young people and families participate with commitment and enthusiasm; now we are working to build a third chicken coop of 9 x 20 meters and for the canalization of the water in order to be able to bring it to all points of the project (houses, farms, plantations ...). The work we are doing now is illustrated very well by an article published this month in the magazine of the Cuore Amico association of Brescia, which I attach together with the photos of the project. I hope to each of you that this New Year can truly be a period of prayer and grace, a period to strengthen our relationship with God. I thank you for your closeness, which I always feel with such affection. I assure you of my daily prayers. A fraternal embrace. Fr. Luigi Savoldelli
Luigi and companion - water collection
The Article from Cuore Amico Association of Brescia, Italy: Giovanna Pasqualin Traversa writes: Father Savoldelli's agricultural project is to make young people fall in love with their land instead of risking their lives on journeys of false hope. A missionary is a witness and a sower of God's Word. But in this case he is also a sower in the literal sense because, together with the local population, he planted cocoa trees, bananas, oranges, plums, papayas and avocados in the heart of the forest. on the outskirts of Yaoundé, Cameroon
A missionary is a witness and a sower of God's Word. But in this case he is also a sower in the literal sense because, together with the local population, he planted cocoa trees, bananas, oranges, plums, papayas and avocados in the heart of the forest. on the outskirts of Yaoundé, Cameroon. But this is only the beginning. Father Luigi Savoldelli
, a missionary of the Marist Fathers, was born in the province of Brescia into a family of farmers, and grew up breathing the love for the land and making his own the techniques he learned from his own. After having worked in different parts of the world, for some years he has been the soul of an agricultural-educational project of the Marist Congregation in the central region of Cameroon; a project that, he explains to SIR, "is rooted in Laudato si 'and shows what can be achieved in a few years when, as the Pope affirms,' the whole human family unites collaborating for the care of the common home '".
The Nkoloman II community camp project, in the heart of the forest on the outskirts of Yaoundé, was born in 2014. In the field, which has an area of 5 hectares, Father Savoldelli and his community have planted 7 thousand cocoa plants to date, 13 thousand banana plants and 95 fruit trees (oranges, plums, papaya and avocados). What is the goal of the project? "Creating opportunities for the young people and families of Cameroon - replies the religious -; involve fathers and mothers in agricultural activities to give them a job opportunity and to be able to meet the needs of their family in a dignified manner. At the same time, we want to involve young people and train them in the care and work of the land by teaching them agricultural techniques to make them self-sufficient from an economic point of view and able to form their own family ". The final goal, he continues with a passion for the story, "is to ensure that young local people can fall in love with their land, learn to respect and cultivate it by considering it the first gift of God, the good on which to build a community of solidarity, without being forced to leave their country due to misery in an attempt to reach the mirage of the West in a journey full of hardship and humiliation , putting one's life at risk ".
A Family engaged in Fr Luigi's Project
Thus, between 2017 and 2018 an organic garden was also created in the Nkoloman II field on an area of about half a hectare previously marshy. "The reclamation - says Father Luigi - was carried out with local labor and rudimentary tools such as wheelbarrows and buckets, pulling the weeds by hand. After this effort - he says proudly - we now have a beautiful garden with vegetables of all kinds: basil, salads, radishes, beans as well as legumes typical of this land such as zum, fulom, watalit, macabo, and a corn field". "The products we grow - he continues - are intended for the sustenance of local communities and families who work with us; the surplus is sold to the market by the families themselves and the proceeds remain with them".
But in an equatorial climate, also characterized by periods of drought, it would not have been possible to keep crops alive without a constant availability of water. And even more important was to ensure drinking water for families in the heart of the forest, an area that lacked it. Hence the idea of digging a well, also built "thanks to the generosity of many Italian benefactors", says the missionary who adds: "Next to the well, 13 meters deep, we have built a tower of 11 meters and a tank of 5 thousand liters to enhance and complete the drinking water supply system ".
Also chickens, fish, pigs and rabbits. In the last period, two chicken coops have been added to agricultural crops - one to have fresh eggs every day for family feeding and for sale at the market, the second to raise broilers - and three ponds have been dug for the fish farming. For some months, the missionary continues, "we have started pig farming and at the moment we have 25; for this it is essential to build an adequate pigsty ". Finally, rabbit breeding has also started a few weeks ago. "Thanks to the involvement and financial support of many Italian friends, we were able to build a rabbit hutch". And finally, there is "a room for the formation of young people". In short, a road that started uphill, but faced with passion, courage and determination, and which is bearing many fruits.