Peaceful Cooperation

by Joachim Panhans,  2007/05/24

The mayor of Kaufbeuren, Stefan Bosse, with the humedica Brazil chairman, Wanderley Ferreira Gabri Junior, at the children’s center, Nova Friburgo.

Mayor Stefan Bosse came back safe and sound from his business trip to Brazil. Last Friday he had already taken up his duties again at the town hall, and had a discussion with the Agricultural Minister on the future development of the agricultural and technical school in Heinzelmannstraße. On Monday, May 21, the mayor presented the Kaufbeuren home builder’s subsidy plan to the parliament in Berlin.

May 23, 2007

The schedule for the official trip in Brazil was tightly packed from the beginning. The journey there lasted twenty-seven hours in total: from Heide in Schleswig Holstein to Hamburg to Paris to Sao Paulo and then to Guaratinguetà. The visit to the Fazenda da Esperanca was particularly impressive to the visitors. On this “ranch of hope”, 150 formerly drug-addicted young men live in a monastery-like community. “During my visit I never saw anyone with cigarettes or alcohol, they all cooperated happily and peacefully with one another,” summed up mayor Bosse. The highlight of the visit was the visit by the Pope on Saturday, May 12. The Pope appeared enthusiastic about the ranch of hope, and he encouraged the Franciscan priest Hans Stapel to continue this work in the spirit of St. Francis. Stapel, who had asked the mayor at a meeting in Irsee in March to represent the city of Kaufbeuren and the Crescentia monastery at the festivities during the Pope’s visit, wasn’t just happy about the pope’s blessing at the Fazenda: the Holy Father had also brought a $100,000 donation to the founder’s of the international - and currently with forty facilities - organization.

At a mass following the Pope’s visit, Bosse delivered the greetings from the city and monastery. He spoke at a fully-packed stadium on the Fazenda complex, including over 30 bishops and cardinals. The address was broadcast on the Brazilian television. On Sunday, the little delegation from Kaufbeuren then traveled to Nova Friburgo, about 350 km away. The Kaufbeuren charity humedica International e.V. had started a relief project there in 1994. humedica Executive Director, Wolfgang Groß, had asked the mayor to take photos of the work being done by the Kaufbeuren charity while they were there. On the highway just before Rio de Janeiro, the mayor's car was hit by a motor-coach, and became sandwiched between the bus and the central divider. Luckily, though, other than serious damage to the vehicles, there were no other major problems. But the clean-up and taking of the accident report took around four hours, which created a major delay in the trip’s schedule. After finally arriving at humedica Brazil, a daughter organization of humedica, around 260 children proudly showed what they had learned in the school. The children - ranging in age from two to sixteen years-old - receive tutoring and meals, medical care and are prepared for vocational training. Just how important the work from humedica is was made clear in a following visit to two slums where the children live. They live there under sordid circumstances; the sanitary conditions are disastrous.

Visiting the new dental station at the children's center

Later in the night, the group from Kaufbeuren traveled back to Guaratinguetà, where they met with mayor Antonio Gilberto Fillippo Fernandes Junior the next day. The signing of a friendship declaration took place on Tuesday evening at the city hall of the population 140,000 city, amid the lively presence of the media. Both mayors expressed their pleasure over the emerging declaration. Galvao, the priest canonized on May 11 by Pope Benedict XVI, comes from Guaratinguetà. He is the first Brazilian to be canonized a Saint, and together with Crescentia from Kaufbeuren, a patron Saint of the new church christened by Pope Benedict XVI on the Fazenda compound. Guaratinguetà is home to the largest air force academy in South America. The Brazilian city is also following the planned Fazenda project in Bickenried bei Irsee. In their speeches, both mayors agreed that the 10,000 kilometers separating the two cities can be a big obstacle in establishing a relationship. The key, however - according to the Kaufbeuren mayor - is not what is said in a statement, but rather what takes place between the cities and the people living there. At the moment a delegation from the Brazilian city is planning on visiting Kaufbeuren for their “Tänzelfest 2007” (Children’s Festival).

On Wednesday in Sao Paolo, Bosse met with the branch manager of an international company who comes from Kaufbeuren. He described to Bosse the requirements for a European company in Brazil. Due to the extensive security precautions, proven necessary by the many attacks which occur, life there can be very difficult. The totally overburdened infrastructure can’t keep up with the growth of the country, thereby inhibiting further development. Nevertheless, Brazil is one of the richest countries on the planet and offers European investors some wonderful opportunities.

Bosse returned to Kaufbeuren on Thursday, May 17. The the flights cost 870 Euros and the travel costs while in Brazil totaled 330 Euros. kb

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