Increasingly, the reality is becoming visible that milONGa is a volunteer program that has multiple actors that make it a possible to enlist and to reach the challenge of offering an experience of donations and reciprocal interculturality.
In May of this year, milONGa lived the experience first-hand in Uruguay at the Social Nueva Vida Center where a dynamic of support and collaboration was generated on behalf of the community and in particular in one of the families that opened the doors to their house to receive the first milONGa volunteer who arrived at the location.
We know that it is not always spontaneous to offer our home and welcome a person we do not know or know very little of; however, this was not an impediment for the Dos Santos Borges family to receive Elisa, a young Italian who was both anxious and nervous proper of someone who ventures off into the unknown, with open arms. She was arriving to Uruguay to live an experience that would make an impact on her for the rest of her life.
It only took a couple of days for the Dos Santos Borges to make this young volunteer feel part of their family. This is what Analilia tells us:
“…She was one more daughter, we took care of her and were always very attentive with every detail so she could feel right at home. Day to day we became accustomed to her presence and she united us very much. Sharing every dinner, everyone sharing out about how our day went, giving ourselves up to donate every moment to her, travel, and meet new places and “such beautiful people…”
And Elisa responds:
“We wanted to offer you all of our love so that you could feel that our house was your home for that time.”
One of milONGa’s fundamentals is to be able to provide an intercultural experience in which the volunteers are able to learn a new culture and make it their own, to the point of being able to put it in perspective with their own.
An important role for this end is the role that the local communities and in them, the families that take in these young people, whom they accompany daily and help them submerge themselves in every day life culture of the place.
“Today Gabriel spoke to her a lot about our culture, places, Casa Pueblo, Páez Vilaro and its art master pieces…we are in this dynamic. Thank you for allowing us to live this experience, that while it requires a lot of dedication, it enriches us.”
Elisa submerged herself in the culture that received her so much that she was known as the “Uruguayan.”
This immersion made her reflect about her own culture, her native country with its history, politics, and the migratory situation that it experienced previous years, and which today resembles to that of the many migrants who daily arrive to Italy.
This new way of reading history, of relating oneself with the world, to understand the social problems of other communities, of narrowing relationships with others, is in conclusion, the goal of milONGa: to form global citizens who can also act locally, and what better than having local families and communities help the volunteers in reaching this objective.
“Beautiful experience and strong. We feel happy that God has thought about us in accompanying Elisa with this challenge. This will also be forever cherished in out hearts.”