Ciao from Sardinia! I’ve been in Alghero since July 5th and I feel very blessed to be here. Things initially got off to a rocky start because I was suffering from heat exhaustion, but I’m happy to say that I’m finally feeling better. The scenery is beautiful, the people are friendly, I feel safe being here, and despite a little trouble with international phone coverage and Wi-Fi connectivity issues, things have been going really well.
Today I was very touched by our visit to the Vel-Mari Refugee and Migrant Center. I felt honored that some of them were telling us their experiences for the first time, and I really enjoyed interacting and connecting with the different people staying there. My eyes started watering when a woman from the Ivory Coast mentioned that she had lost both of her parents, as I too have lost both of my parents, one of which happened only five months ago. We probably lost our parents to different things and under different circumstances, but my heart goes out to her because I can relate to the feeling of sadness and emptiness that lingers after they are gone.
One of our activities today involved drawing pictures that represented things from our home countries, allowing us to communicate with each other despite the language barriers. There were people from Bangladesh, Morocco, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, and a number of other countries. Once we paired up we began to express our hopes for the future, as well as what we would need in order to turn those hopes into a reality. I worked with a young man named Nurislam who is 16-years-old and is from Bangladesh (see him beside me in the picture below). I enjoyed getting to know more about where he is from and what kinds of things he’s interested in, such as playing cricket and football; he also expressed an interest in pursuing business, particularly in the clothing industry. As a former design school student this was an interest that we both shared.
On Monday we are heading back to Vel-Mari to have dinner with our new friends and I’m looking forward to seeing them all again!
Ciao for now!