Italy, Special #CALLTOGENFEST: Samuele’s experience in Mexico, thanks to the Milonga Project
«The experience I lived in Mexico from February 28 to April 9, 2018, was fantastic. New discoveries, new emotions, new encounters… completely new initiatives and projects, which left an indelible mark in my heart.
It all started after arriving in the citadel “El Diamante,” an oasis that is located near Puebla, in Acatzingo. A place where you can be quietly in touch with nature and where you can live moments of sharing.
Thanks to the peaceful place, I immediately managed to get in tune with the environment without experiencing trouble in adjusting.
However, not everything has been all roses and flowers, at least at the beginning. In fact, on the third day I had to endure an intestinal disorder, most likely related to local food. In addition, as we were at more than two thousand meters of altitude, I often felt very weak. Fortunately, however, all this lasted only a few days. In fact, as early as on the fifth day I was back in full form.
My typical day was a service that I did from Monday to Friday, from 10 am to 3 pm, at the “Estancia Juan Pablo II”, a kindergarten located in Acatzingo. Then, I attended the evening mass together with the rest of the community. My main task was teaching English to children but of course it could not end in this task: I served them at lunch, I helped them eat, I changed their dirty clothes, I was with them during the recreation, I danced and sang with them.
Sharing these moments together, I felt a sense of paternity and it goes without saying that I realized to what extent I was incredibly bound to these children. It was not easy to say good-bye… and to hold back my tears!
On Easter, I was asked to interpret the role of Jesus in a live representation of the Way of the Cross. It was an incredible experience to play the role of our Lord and to transmit to all the faithful the suffering he experienced for each of us!
I also had the opportunity to be part of the choir and to participate in the moments of leisure organized by the Gen. In short, I was fully integrated into the dynamics of the community.
Precisely for this reason, I was afraid of not having the opportunity to experience life outside the citadel, to have precluded the possibility of getting in touch with the surrounding environment and its inhabitants. But this did not happen. Thanks to some people who accompanied me during my stay in Mexico, I had the opportunity to visit other places and meet local families. All in a climate of profound friendly collaboration. I am grateful for it!
As a happy ending, in the last days of my stay, I helped out in a village called Contla, one of the many hit by the earthquake, working for the reconstruction of collapsed houses. In those five very intense days, I had the opportunity to test myself by supporting hardships and uneasiness without which perhaps, I would not have felt so much gratified.
To conclude, I wish to express my profound conviction that nothing is achieved if we do not give ourselves completely. The secret is dashing without fear and give the best of yourself.
What is the Milonga Project?
New Humanity, the non-governmental organization of the Focolare Movement, Youth for a United World, and the Latin American Network are social organizations inspired by the charism of unity. With the collaboration of the Sociedade Movimento dos Focolares – Brazil and Sumà Fraternidad, they have joined forces to create an international volunteering platform dedicated to young people with the aim of meeting the increasingly widespread desire among young people to make social and global experiences.
Its purpose is to provide opportunities for “fraternal,” intercultural, and quality volunteering for young people between 21 and 35 years old, to be carried out in synergy with the NGOs already working in the various peripheries of the planet. The communities and the Citadels of the Focolare Movement also took part in this initiative because they represent significant areas of action and training for motivated young people who are willing to engage in social work.
It is a voluntary service with tutoring in all its phases: preparation, development, and post-experience. Both volunteers and the receiving organization will find in the Milonga Project technical and training support with the aim of improving the effectiveness of the action.
The fraternal bond is the key to a new form of social action. And it is precisely this spirit that motivates the encounter with the different communities in situations of vulnerability, to live with them an experience of communion and intercultural dialogue. And from here to find, together, possible paths of social transformation and development. “Together” is the watchword, precisely because Milonga’s strength lies in the fact that it is a two-way project, where volunteers are supposed to be enriched by this experience.
Currently these projects are operational in 7 Latin American countries: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Mexico, Paraguay, Venezuela, and Uruguay. But also in Africa and Jordan, where Caritas accompanies the volunteers step by step in living an intense experience, accompanying refugees from the Middle East. The new entry this year are the Philippines but we are still working to open up new opportunities.
For this reason, we invite you to participate in the training weekend which will be held from 8 to 10 June, open not only to volunteers, but to all those who are interested in learning more about the experience.