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num. 519 - February 2012

LATIN AMERICA

Uruguay - The Saint Eugene scout troop

The Saint Eugene scout troop belongs to the parish of San Rafael del Cerro in Montevideo, Uruguay, and it tries to live the Oblate charism.

Its story began in 2010 when Fr. Stefano CARTABIA, the pastor, had the idea of starting a scout troop in the parish; he passed on the idea to the parish council which some time later approved it.

Then we began the work of forming future leaders by the one in charge of the troop who was already a scout. On May 26, we had the first activity with boys from the barrio and others from Casabó.

It began with only one scout rank and a total of four leaders; at the end of the year, there were only two, but the group grew. They joined other leaders already trained by a friendly group from “Colon-Montevideo.”

Today, the group is one year and seven months old. Presently, the group has three ranks: cubs (8-10 years old), scouts (11-13 years old), and pioneers (14-16 years old). There are a total of 26 children and teenagers and 7 leaders.

The leaders are not from the barrio; we come from different places: Colon, Sayago, Camino Maldonado and Pando. Therefore, one of our goals is to get leaders from the site because that’s the only way the group will have a future.

We ask you to pray for us and our scout group so that it continues to grow and succeeds in living the Oblate charism. (Gonzalo Bachino, Group leader)



Bolivia - Broadcasting from the mountains

Fr. Roberto DURETTE has been working for many years in radio ministry in the high elevations of Bolivia. In his New Year’s greetings, he brings his friends up to date:

As for what is going on in my life, I am still living a good part of it on the Altiplano (4,000 meters altitude = 13,000 ft.) in the famous tin mines. Once in awhile I travel to Cochabamba to recharge my batteries, that is, take in a bit more oxygen to give my repaired heart a rest. Cochabamba is about 8,000 ft. altitude. The climate is gorgeous with plenty of sun.

I am still involved with the Pio XII radio stations that the Oblates founded many years ago in 1959 (53 years). We have started our small network linking the radio that we have in Siglo XX (tin mine) with those in Cochabamba and Oruro, known as Red Pio XII (Pio XII network). We are working on a new experience. We have installed small FM stations in two Indian villages in our region (one of the poorest of the country) that will serve to promote participation in and social control of the development of their municipalities.

We also take part in a national network called ERBOL, which Radio XII helped found in 1967. This network is comprised of more than 100 stations throughout Bolivia and we produce each day news bulletins, cultural programs in Spanish, Quechua, Aymara and Guarani languages. The latter are the main languages spoken by the majority of the indigenous peoples of Bolivia. Radio Pio XII has been a pioneer in fighting for better working conditions for the tin miners and the promotion of the human rights of the indigenous peoples. And for that, the station in the past has suffered many military interventions and closures.

As you probably know Bolivia is the first country in Latin America to elect an indigenous president. There are many changes that are going on in the country. For the first time in over 500 years one can see indigenous people going in and out of the presidential palace in La Paz. This is very symbolic and promising. A new constitution has been approved in which the rights of the indigenous peoples have been recognized for the first time. Bolivia is over 60% indigenous but has been ruled by the white minority since its independence in 1825. That same minority resists the changes. Like any political process, there are bright and somber moments. But all in all, Bolivia is marching towards a more just society. And people say that we (Radio Pio XII) have made a small but important contribution to this political process. (Gus’ News Notes, January 2012)