(ANS - San Pedro Carchá) - San Pedro Carchá is about 200 km from the north of Guatemala. On May 18, 1935, the Salesians arrived and the local Church assigned them challenging pastoral work in the midst of a large population which was distributed across an inaccessible and extremely poor territory. In the years that followed, they founded the "Don Bosco Center", and now a thousand young Indians have celebrated the 35th anniversary of its foundation.
The "Don Bosco Center" is located in Tzacanihá, near San Pedro Carcha, and is the Center that welcomes the children and young people of Raxruhá and the nearby city of Chamelco.
Fr Antonio De Groot, SDB, founder and promoter of this great educational project, organized this 35th anniversary celebration with the support of his nascent Indigenous religious congregation, "The Missionaries of Christ the Good Shepherd" and a large group of collaborators.
For three days, the thousands of young people staying in the "Don Bosco Center" lived and shared Salesian happiness with music, theater, sports, fashion shows and walks: everything ended with a Eucharistic celebration.
The start of this educational adventure has an almost perfect parallel with the well-known anecdote of Don Bosco's encounter with Bartolomeo Garelli. Fr Antonio lived and worked in Raxruhá, a remote area at the edge of the forest that was almost inaccessible and with no basic services. One day, a young Indian asked him if he could visit his home to learn how to read and write. Shortly thereafter, a second young man joined him, then a third, and soon a small group formed.
As the group enlarged, elementary structures also began to emerge. Thirty-five years later, the Don Bosco Center features beautiful and functional buildings, green areas, all characterized by cleanliness and order.
In the geographical area wherein the "Centro Don Bosco" project has been operating, the center has represented a true educational revolution. It has demonstrated the young Indians' intelligence and attentiveness, their great desire to learn, and their boundless energy. It is pleasantly surprising to learn that many students, succeeding in graduating from the Don Bosco Center to the University, now work as much-respected professionals.
If someone today were to try imagining the Valdocco Oratory in the days of Don Bosco, it would be enough to take a trip to San Pedro Carca!