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CARAVAN JOURNAL – PART II

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Monday, July 15, 2019 – Porto Velho: Eighth day of Caravan

We started off our second week of caravan strong. In Porto Velho, we started campaign mid-morning and over the course of four hours, collected more than 2,100 signatures. The campaign was long, very hot, very hard, but as with all things, there is no glory without sacrifice.

The city was full of people and our campaign didn’t have to move very much to collect signatures. Many of the people who passed by showed open enthusiasm.

After ending the campaign and having a quick lunch in the city, we crossed the Rio Madeira (Wood River) and eventually crossed into the Brazilian State of Amazônia. Unfortunately, our excitement was cut short when shortly after crossing the state line one of our vans broke down, after having covered 3,815 kilometers. However, this wasn’t our first rodeo, so we rearranged some of our luggage, hooked up one van to another and continued.

Our caravan moved slowly until we made it to the city of Humaitá. Just as we arrived to our destination, the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, at the moment of our final turn the pin of the tow bar broke and the broken down van came loose. Thankfully, the driver was still sitting behind the wheel and he was able to safely steer the detached van into a parking spot.

 

Tuesday, July 16, 2019 – Humaitá: Ninth day of Caravan

For the first time since the start of the caravan, we encountered a bit of rain and it was humid rather than dry.  Humaitá is not a large city and since there wasn’t a city center, the band marched down the largest street while the volunteers spread out on either side of the road gathering signatures. At the end of the street was a small plaza which was bordered by the Cathedral, a school, and the Rio Madeira. When the campaign reached the promontory overlooking the river, the volunteers enjoyed a interesting sight. Two grey river dolphins were gracefully making their way upstream, diving in and out of the water. Then, immediately after the first two disappeared, a pink river dolphin appeared, following after the others. The band also moved upstream, marching for a few blocks, before circling back around again to the plaza. This time, the plaza was filled with high school students who had just ended their classes. Many of them signed the petition. In two and a half hours, the campaign managed to gather over 800 signatures.

After lunch, the caravan made its way back into the state of Rondônia. Continuing through Porto Velho, the vans turned westward and headed for the state of Acre. It was a long drive which continued until past sunset. When the moon came up, the volunteers witnessed a partial eclipse. The caravan stopped outside the border of Acre for the night and the volunteers finally got to sleep at around 2.00 a.m.

 

Wednesday, July 18, 2019 – Rio Branco: Tenth day of Caravan

After five and a half hours of sleep, the caravan moved on, crossing into the Brazilian state of Acre and reaching the city of Rio Branco around mid-morning. The campaign kicked off at 11 a.m. close to the governor’s house, the Palácio Rio Branco, located in the center of the city. Just as on the first day of the Caravan, the group split in two and took turns eating lunch, allowing the campaign to continue collecting signatures during the lunch hour, a big opportunity to catch foot traffic. For the first half of the campaign, the band remained at the same intersection. There was a good flow of people passing by since there was a bazaar across the street. The second half of the campaign, the entire group of caravanners began to move around the block. The weather was overcast and although it wasn’t nearly as hot as previous days, it was still hot. The campaign continued for several hours until about 5:30 p.m. In over 6 hours the volunteers succeeded in collecting nearly 3,000 signatures.

 

Thursday, July 19, 2019 – Epitaciolândia and Assis Brazil: Eleventh day of Caravan

The caravan collected signatures in two towns. The campaign in the first town lasted only an hour before the caravanners had to move on. Though it was a short campaign, almost 400 signatures were gathered.

After travelling several more hours, the caravan arrived in Assis Brazil and managed to fit a 45 minutes campaign in right up until after sunset. The second campaign collected close to 200 signatures for a total of 600 for the day. Although both towns are small, they are located in the Amazon region and towns like them will likely be used as examples during the synod in Rome. As such, their voices are all the more important.

 

Friday, July 19, 2019 –  Iberia and Puerto Maldonado, Peru: Twelfth day of Caravan

Today we woke up very early and drove into Peru, invited by the organization Tradition and Action for a Greater Perú (Tradición y Acción por un Perú Mayor), a sister association of IPCO, that is also part of the international coalition to warn public opinion around the world about the serious threat that the Pan-Amazon Synod stands to Western Civilization.

Most of the morning was spent getting through the border, first the Brazilian side, and then the Peruvian side. After lunch, we did our first campaign in the town of Iberia, Peru. Since the town was smaller, collecting signatures was easier, and in only half an hour, nearly 200 people signed the petition.

After finishing the campaign with the customary prayers, the caravan continued moving and arrived in Porto Maldonado just before sunset. We began our second campaign on the edge of the main square, caddy corner to a large pillar with a statue of Our Lady of the Rosary atop it. The plaza was positively bursting with people and many of them were attracted to the campaign by the fanfare of the band. Passing motorists were also intrigued and many pulled to the side of the road to watch or inquire about the campaign. After the sun set, the caravanners moved to the center of the plaza, which was very well illuminated, full of foot traffic and a much more appropriate location for the band. After an hour, almost 400 people signed the petition.       

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