Africa, it’s time to leave!

From the diary of Giuseppe Argiolas, who just concluded the intensive course on EoC at CUEA in Nairobi, optimism of one who had seen new things come to life

Africa, it’s time to leave!

by Giuseppe Argiolas

110720_Cuea_05_ridArrival Saturday night, July 16, after a long trip but beautiful in which the opportunities to love were not lacking; to love those who helped me start in the “best way” this unexpected adventure Charles Besigie, an African from Uganda and tutor of the course welcomed me with open arms. The next day, with Charles, off to the little city of the Movement in Kenya, Mariapolis Piero: beautiful conversations during the trip and with many friends at the Mariapolis are opportunities to enter on tiptoes in this “African world.”

On the previous Friday, the first week of the intensive course on EoC ended with the part on Social Accounting. Giampietro Parolin, who taught the first part of the course, was a champion. Everyone talks about him enthusiastically!!!

Today, the tour of the city strikes me so much to see people dressed very well, with great care that… they enter the barracks… those are their houses…! They say that this was the same impression that Chiara Lubbich had when she came here. From heart to heart… this gave me a lot of joy to find myself in tune with her… on the other part of this is the desire that animates me: “look at Africa through the eyes of Chiara.”

Monday, July 18 at 9 am the second week of the course begins: we will talk about Management and Communion. There is great expectation. The first day went by intensely!!!  It seems that I have been here for a month!!

I was welcomed by the Dean of Commerce, Dr. Ayako, with warmth and joy… with lots of pictures and presentation of the class. 110718_Cuea_04_ridThen in the mid-morning, I meet with the Rector of the University, a special person of uncommon simplicity and depth, Professor Maviiri, who is at the end of his third term at CUEA. He is happy that this course was able to come about before the end of his term at the University. Furthermore, he personally underlines how much convinced he is that the charism of Chiara and the Economy of Communion can give so much to African development. For my part I say that Africa can give so much to the Economy of Communion, in fact – I would say – can be an example for the whole world!

One can feel that here there really is a fertile ground, ready and the roads are wide open! The course is organized in the week starting from the basic principles of organizations then the analysis of organizations, business and profit from the civil economy perspectives and a comparison on business views of Coase and Williamson and that of Barnard. In the end, the EoC Managerial Model. It develops with an open and deep dialogue in class among the fifteen students coming from four countries: Burundi, Rwanda, Cameroon and Kenya. They also talk about Africa’s development, relationships with the West and East of the world… delicate and important topics.

110711_Nairobi_Cuea06On Friday, the course concludes with the case study on Loppiano. First, the students were able to personally analyze at length, in three work groups and then, report to the whole class their thoughts: the students have understood to their best at what was said and studied in class on the case. The time dedicated to the testimony of a young entrepreneur that from last January, with a partner, has started an EoC business here in Nairobi was important.

Then a ceremony, with the awarding of the certificates, in such a great style with the Faculty arrayed in committee (Representative of the Rector, Dean of the faculty, Manager of the MBA, in charge of the examination records…) with related speeches. A student representative expressed exceptionally how much she has acquired from the course.

"Thanks to the commitment of each one of you, not only have we talked about the economy of communion, we have lived it – I wanted to say to the class in front of the Faculty – and I will bring each one of you in my heart, as I am sure to stay in the heart of each one of you.”

Il The Dean expressed heartfelt thanks to the students: you are the pioneers of something really important that was started and will go forward” and the desired promise to insert - asking help and collaboration from Sophia – Economy of Communion in the course curriculum of Master in Business Administration.

A On behalf of the Rector, the Dean of Theology, Professor Majawa, took the floor to express the deep appreciation for the initiative and underline the importance of the Economy of Communion for Africa and for every man: “There are many economists in the world, highly trained, intellectual… but it takes the heart, it takes the heart, a spirituality that helps to unify human life allowing them to transform the creator, dealing with concrete things adequately, enlightened…” 

So, in the end, the awarding of the certificates was in an atmosphere of great solemnity with so much emotion and great joy. Group pictures were 110722_Cuea_07_ridtaken and lunch at the presence of representatives of the Focolare Movement in Kenya, Burundi, Tanzania, Rwanda and Uganda. At this time the students give me a beautiful wooden sculpture depicting a pair of Masai Warriors, to indicate what they are: Warriors who stand on their feet to bear witness the Economy of Communion with the tools to live by in their hands.

There could not be a more touching conclusion. Looking at these young people (by all accounts) transformed by two weeks of intensive course, one cannot but be optimistic.

Now one is eager to understand how to go forward, but the communion has been built and there is no going back. The time flew. In the car we listen to a song, it is Bocelli, “It’s Time to Say Goodbye, “I Will Go with You.” Yes, it is time to leave, but “with you” I will leave, Africa, to the countries that I have never seen and lived with you, now yes, I shall live them, and everything I see will never be the same because you are here with me.

In these days I have received so much from Africa and its Africans. It seemed to me to be able to experiment a little preview of the symphony of people who live in Paradise. Unity, which is the charism of Chiara Lubich, is not only communion between individuals but also among nations: Africa has so much to give to this unity; as for us, it's knowing how to welcome such a precious gift. This is my beloved Africa.

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