"Never forget that giving joy also gives joy."
F. Nietzsche, is one of Carolina's favorite quotes.
We have presented you Carolina Castagna some time ago, as one of the many Italian students who attended university studies in Albania. In fact, Carolina received her medical studies at the university "Our Lady of Good Counsel" - "Zoja and Këshillit të Mirë" in Tirana. Now she has moved to the Sapienza University of Rome.
She is the daughter of the well-known and beloved journalist and television presenter Alberto Castagna, who is also much loved in Albania.
This time, to reconfirm my opinion of her as that of a girl not only intelligent, but also very simple, selfless and with a great soul, was her departure for Idomeni as a volunteer of the association Time4life to bring to the refugees some basic necessities that are beginning to run out.
When I complimented her on the noble work she is doing, telling her that: "It is a treasure", she replied modestly to me: "Adela, they are treasures!"
So Carolina left with her group of volunteers the 13 May for Idomeni. Before leaving he made an appeal to friends and acquaintances to collect as much aid as possible for the refugees, writing:
"The 13 May I will leave for Idomeni with the association Time4life to bring to the refugees some basic goods that are beginning to run out ..
We volunteers are committed to collecting:
1. Powdered milk of any brand and size
2. Chicken, salmon and canned sardines (eg simmenthal chicken)
3. Chewable vitamins (no syrups that are too bulky)
4. Tachypirina in chewable drops or tablets
5. Dried fruit
It would be nice if any of you wanted to help me / giving us one of these things (even more than one !!!)
In addition, if you have a suitcase, a camping backpack, an old but working duffel bag that you may not use anymore or even an old school backpack, I am looking for 3 bags / backpacks / suitcases to leave to the refugees that they will have to face long journeys and are often forced to carry their few belongings in plastic bags.
Contact me if you want to contribute! "
From Carolina's diary:
A man and his son asked us to bring them a suitcase, a large suitcase to collect all their belongings. The suitcase is used to go back home .. it is true, now that I think about it, they no longer have any home, but the mere idea of spending another month in the Idomeni camp makes even the bombs in Syria regret ...
Sirda, comes from Damascus, has 25 years (only a year older than me) and is very beautiful, she has almost blue eyes that from the veil seem even more intense. They are tired but happy eyes, happy to be away from the noise of bombs. He speaks good English because he studied it, he tells me about his family.
He gives me his daughter in his arms and invites me to have tea in his tent. His daughter (the third) is a year and three months old and plump. She likes me! He touches my hair, fiddles with my identification tag and laughs when I make "bubù-settete" .. just like Bianca, my little cousin. They are the same age and laugh just the same way. They have different colors and completely different stories but they are very similar.
It's time to go, I have to get the other volunteers ready for the distribution of part of the aid brought by Italy. I greet and joke I tell Sirda: "I bring the baby to Italy with me, okay?"
She changes expression, becomes almost resigned but at the same time hopeful and tells me "Can you really do it?". I understand that she really would like me to bring her baby to Italy, she would be willing to leave her to give her an uncertain but different future.
He would give me his daughter.
Saturday I was in the kitchen.
Not far from the camp of Idomeni there is a wonderful kitchen where volunteers of all nationalities, every day, prepare more than 5000 meals for the refugees. It is a bizarre routine where there are those who leave and those who stay, everyone knows each other even if they do not really know each other, greet each other, between a chat and a bit of techno or reggae music, peeling potatoes, ginger, onions, garlic, prepare rice and a typical soup that is served in the field, the "ciorba". To me today it is garlic, a quantity of garlic to be peeled that has never been seen in my life. We are under the scorching sun, summer has arrived here in Greece, they make 30 degrees but they all work without ever leaving the station. I cut a piece of shadow, I sit on an empty orange box and keep peeling garlic for hours ..
It seems to never end.
Then comes the time for the distribution of the first meal; today's menu consists of a cup of ciorba (delicious) and a boiled egg. Nourishing and tasty. At the camp they are waiting for us, without us they would not eat. They see us coming and silently adults, women, boys, children line up in front of the truck. They make two parallel rows and wait sorted. Only the children make a bit of a mess, they spite and cackle, fight, the little ones fall and cry. No matter how long you have to wait, there is something for everyone! They wait and finally eat. Each one, when his turn comes, looks me in the eye, takes from my hands, wearing gloves, his portion and thanks me saying "Thank you my friend". And we smile both him and him.
I walk on the train tracks, next to the barbed wire, I am distributing raincoats for the children .. It is true that it does not rain now, but when it rains, here, a disaster really happens.
The curtains flood and break, there's mud everywhere, and you can't move. Raincoats will serve sooner or later even if the children are a little disappointed to see them. I stop in a tent, there is a lady, who could be of any age, with lots of noisy children playing, she tells me that they are all her children. I'm six! She also speaks perfectly English, she was a teacher in Aleppo. Her husband is in the tent next door, is playing cards and smoking a cigarette with some boys, we say a greeting. He was a lawyer in his previous life, the one in Syria. She invites me into her tent, I can't refuse. He offers me small, strange and bitter green fruits, I can't refuse even those.
I pretend I like them! He beckons me to come in and gives me space. I take off my shoes and sit next to her and the bunch of kids who scream and laugh. She scolds them and makes them feel a little quiet. Then he takes his smartphone, I think it's a Samsung, unlocks the code and shows me the photos of six months ago, when they were still at home, in Syria. In Aleppo they had a very nice, spacious villa with a porch and a messy garden full of games. She stares at me with nostalgic eyes but you understand that she is happy, happy to have escaped from the hell that broke out two steps away from her garden. I look around and look at the tent where I am. It makes a beastly hot, the silver material of which the tent is made attracts the sun, there are flies that are placed everywhere, there is a strange smell of closed and food.
There are eight of them in this tent, which is smaller than the bathroom in my room, and they laugh; I'm in Europe.
The greeting and the dedication written by her mother before departure is also exciting:
"Have a good trip! A hug to everyone, you are wonderful.
There is an Italy that is lost in corruption, intrigue, malaffari and much more ... and then there are those who are inebriated and compact in helping those who suffer. Without rhetoric and without useless mysticism. Luckily!"
This is the Italy of solidarity, the Italy of youth full of values.
Visit the photo album "Stories of Idomeni"
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