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To give of yourself voluntarily, a choice i keep renewing

Hello everyone! My name is Giacomo, I’m 23 years old and I’m Italian.

It has been exactly one year since I was finishing my volunteer experience with the milONGa project milONGa.

From January to June of 2019 I had the opportunity to live and work in Kenya, serving in three very different realities: the St John the Baptist Hope Fazenda (a rehabilitation community that provides help for those with addiction to drugs or alcohol), the Ya Ufariji family (a home for children living in the streets in the northside of Nairobi), and finally the Magnificat Project (a project born in the neighborhoods of di Mathare in Nairobi which involves several families from there).

Although the experience has ended, I still feel it very present in my everyday life. I relive it constantly, especially in this moment of the pandemic in which we all seem so distant and hard to reach. Being in contact with many people that I met in Kenya, I am aware of the sufferings that they are living because of the lack of work and the shortage of hygienic and social services.

Many times the distance makes me feel powerless. Nevertheless, I think that we have been given a possibility: the entire world, perhaps for the first time in history, is united in front of a common obstacle. And so, what will be our contribution?

Despite the many limitations in place because of the quarantine, I have seen the birth of many opportunities to ‘get in the game’ and help my neighbor. I think of the activities promoted by the group “Ciancio Alle Bande,” a group of young people with the desire to share experiences of fraternity, share their cultures, and to sustain projects to help those who are suffering. In these months, for example, they organized a t-shirt sale whose profits will be sent to “Emergency Syria” an initiative of the United World Association. I also think of Easter time, when I tried to be closer to my friends from Kenya through short videos in which we wished each other peace and hope.cui auguro loro pace e speranza.

Recently, along with some friends, I have been lending a hand to “Sentinelle dei Rifiuti,” or guards of the refuse. An association in Turin (the city where I am living and studying) that collects leftover food from the markets throughout the city and distributes them to those most in need. A concrete and free action that fights against the problem of food waste.

All of these are small gestures, but ones that renew my choice to give of myself voluntarily for my neighbor. The same choice that one year ago pushed me to ‘dance’ with milONGa.

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