Calcutta 2015: chronicle of an unforgettable experience of solidarity

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IMG_0648Calcutta is almost inexplicable. We have to go once and again to attempt to understand its meaning, its mystery, its uniqueness. Chaos and misery intertwine with charm and seduction. These are considerations that do not define it, but perhaps brings us closer to the reality. In this particular setting, our volunteers of the “Volunteers for International Development Associated” (VIDA) Onlus, coming from far western cultures but with a heart full of love, joy and enthusiasm, spent a period on a humanitarian mission in favour of the poor among the poor of the city, from July 21 to August 5, 2015, inspired by a great little woman of extraordinary love: Mother Teresa. We were thirteen adventurers of charity and solidarity, with passports of Italy, Spain and the US, and we had the opportunity to live a unique experience, a life lesson unexpected and shocking, that revolutionized, consciously or not, our lives forever. We were thrown into a shocking reality giving our heart and giving the best of us. We shared, with the latest and the excluded of society cruelly stratified into castes, fifteen days of sweat, monsoons, labors, challenges and indescribable emotions. IMG_2974 (2)We helping in little things, those things made with love, with sincerity, with a genuine spirit and true. Every day, in groups, we reached our centres: Prem Dan, Shanti Dan, Nabo Jibon and Nirmal Niketan. Prem Dan “and” Shanti Dan “are two of the most biggest centres that host abandoned people because elderly, sick or disabled, including the no-caste ones; They were founded and are still run by the Missionaries of Charity. “Nabo Jibon” is located in Howrah, on the outskirts of Calcutta, and welcomes about eighty young or adult men of the same characteristics of the centres mentioned before; in this case the “brothers”, the Missionaries of Charity carry the management. “Nirmal Niketan”, instead, is Kabardanga, in more rural suburb of Calcutta, and welcomes boys and girls with disabilities. They are all centres in which our association has been working for years. Nirmal Niketan was founded by the will of VIDA four years ago and now accommodates forty children with disabilities in need of care and attention. It’s great to see how, year after year, these little heroes are formed, grow, mature and improve significantly at a glance. It was our great excitement when the students of “Nirmal” danced, sang and recited for us in sign of gratitude for our loving presence every day of this mission, days wet by the monsoon and dried by a torrid sun. We also went on an excursion to “Victoria Memorial” with them, an interesting museum in a huge palace built during the British to honour Queen Victoria of England after her death occurred in 1901; The monument was designed by Sir William Emerson in Indo-Saracenic style, incorporating elements of moguls. It is an extraordinarily beautiful and brilliant, rare in the middle of the deterioration of the city. IMG_0623We didn’t the miss the day with the lepers of “Gandhiji Prem Nivas” in Titagarh and even the daily visit to the tomb of Mother Teresa in the “Mother House” in Bose Road. Some of us stayed one more day so that were able to visit the “City of Joy”, where VIDA supports three important social projects run by the Spanish foundation “Colores de Calcuta”. One of the most intense moments we have had was with the project “Hope for the Homeless”. It consists of the distribution of food, hygiene products and saris among the poorest homeless and slums of the city that every day struggle for survival. This year the project took place in an area that is a fifteen minutes by drive from “Park Circus Station”. More than 700 people benefited from this solidarity act that meets their humanitarian emergencies. We thank “The Yago Foundation” which allowed us to pursue this initiative through their economic contribution. A young Hindu of Calcutta, named Nick, interested in our mission, wanted to join us during the activity. The responsibles of VIDA in Calcutta have donated to the Sisters and Brothers of the Missionaries of Charity, founded by Mother Teresa, 3,200.00 EUR to distribute among eight centres that provides service to the most needy. This is now a tradition that happens every year. FullSizeRender (5)At the end … a few lines can not tell the smiles, joys, the hardships, the hugs, the meetings, the wonder and all that each of us keeps in its heart. The streets, the subway, the bus, the noise, the smells, the rain, the heat, the humidity, the colours, the traffic, the rickshaw, food, flooding … everything is special and should be told but the most remains in our intimacy because Calcutta or you live it or you can not imagine it. With this brief account we would like to briefly say: it was beautiful, extraordinarily strong, amazing, the best experience of our lives! If you can, do it you too, so you will understand the inner wealth that we have accumulated and that will be with us forever.
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