venerdì 1 gennaio 2016

World Peace Day "Indifference is the biggest obstacle"

Now that I'm back home in Italy and I'm spending some precious time with my family I cannot stop reminding myself of how fortunate I am to be able to do so, and to be surrounded by kind and supportive souls.

On this special occasion my thoughts go to the lovely people I met in Lebanon, girls and kids who live in the shelters where I work in Beirut and surroundings.

Dbayeh Palestinian Refugee camp, UNRWA

Even if I wish they all managed to go back to their countries, even if I wish everyone obtained their refugees visa, I know I cannot be naïve. Many of them are still there in those shelters. The majority is still waiting for their papers to be issued, waiting for their file to move forward, waiting for their case to be successful in court.. The word that resonates in their mind is WAITING...

"Waiting...It feels like being in prison"

And you, what are you waiting for? Is it something of this magnitude? Are you perhaps waiting to return to your beloved country? Or for a deadly war to cease?
If you are reading this post then the answer is most likely no. You are probably thinking of some new year resolutions that are from a different world, a completely different reality. Lose weight? Quit smoking? Join the gym? Save money? Better job?
Hey, I'm not blaming you for these, of course no.. I'm writing about such inconsistency just to make us reflect about it all. This is the world we live in, a world full of contradictions. However, we cannot be still, pretending what's happing outside of our box doesn't exist, that what you see on social media ceases when you turn off the tv. We need to talk about it. It's up to us to become a connector between very different worlds, very different realities. This is what I'm trying to do now: to bring testimony of the experience I live daily in Lebanon so that you can remind yourself to smile at the life you have, instead of worrying about superfluous things. And more importantly that those less fortunate need some proper consideration!

Before leaving Beirut to come to Milan I had a special day with the girls of one of the shelter. My colleagues and I organised a fun day of activities and games, a Christmas party. The ladies were very excited, some of them put make up on, they wore the best dresses they had; everything was done in order to forget for a day where they live, to put on stand by their problems and to just cherish for the time being.
In this one big room where everything happens we organised the party. We moved the chairs and we reshuffled them so to recreate a stage. A Christmas tree and the nativity scene were remembering the ladies that even though they think time has stopped in that one shelter, the world around them keeps moving fast, with the seasons changing and the festivities coming.

Girls from Kenya and Togo performing a typical dance

As soon as the music started Sarah, Mary, Ridjet, Akoss, Maribel etc..put their beutiful smile on their joyful faces. We played a variety of games, some girls told a few Christmas poems, other set up the live nativity scene, and we all danced, yes we danced.
The food that the director of the shelter prepared was once again amazingly tasty; her way of mixing and balancing species to create a unique taste is impressive.

A well deserved lunch

It was a simple day but it is often the simplest things that bear the purest, honest joy. Seeing these young girls that happy made me feel like what I'm doing, even thought of a simple nature, it is not in vain.

Customs and traditions- Ethiopia

"Learning english is useful for my future and makes me feel like time is running faster"

As Pope Francis said in the Angelus today INDIFFERENCE is the biggest obstacle to peace; it makes us only thing about ourselves and therefore it creates barriers, fears and closures of mind and heart. We should try to awaken to the injustices and suffering of our brothers and sisters, starting from those living in our cities, next door. We need to overcome a "globalisation of indifference" to dream of a more peaceful world.

This post is for those less fortunate who spent Xmas away from their beloved ones, for those who find it hard  to celebrate and those who had to flee their warm homes because of conflicts... On a similar note this post is dedicated to those suffering from the many injustices our world is facing today.

May peace prevail in the year ahead, may human kind stop hurting our Mother Earth.

Not everyone is lucky enough to smile today.
So keep smiling and keep reminding yourself how beautiful life is.
Be grateful for it, at every breath you take.

Happy new year!
Michi :)

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