In the world there is much need to do good and, at times, when we decide to do it, we have no idea where to move about to do it. Responding to the request done by the community of Canetra during the «Youth meeting» at Lovere on the theme «@HOME, a place where to stay», a group (heterogeneous regarding provenance, sex and age) decided to reach out Amatrice, a zone which was severely affected by the earthquake on 24 August 2016, with the aim of ‘building homes’ for those who, unfortunately, lost their houses.

Vito, Giovanni, Federica, Alessandra, Roberta and Roberta, coming from the city of Bari and surroundings, have made a temporary stop at Rieti in order to meet Giacomo, Emanuele, Chiara, Michela and Elisa, coming from Desio-Monza, and together with Sr. Sandra – directress of the University College of «istituto Margherita » Bari – the group moved in a compact way, to render their service to the people of Amatrice. There was no need to lift up boulders, to remove rubbles, but it was necessary to support affectionately a wounded community. Some lost their houses, some their dear ones, others both their houses and their dear ones.

After the emergency period, in the course of the last three years most of the evacuated people got a house where to sleep: in the container or the S.A.E. (Emergency Housing Solution), but it is not the same as having one’s own house. Those who have lived the experience of a destructive earthquake are able to adapt themselves, without complaining much.

We were based at the containers of «Santa Giusta», provided by the Caritas; the volunteers stayed in the zone from 10 to 17August, doing a wonderful job visiting the towns of Amatrice (Colli,Scai, Sommati, Torrita), Accumuli and other towns of Rieti. Some of the students offered their collaboration in the summer centres for children, others were available to listen to the persons who have suffered due to material or affective loss. Also the elderly persons of the rest home of Borbone (Rieti) expressed their joy and gratitude for having shared the midsummer festivity with 12 volunteers.

For these persons, describing what they lived was a way to ’empty one’s sack’, to open one’s heart, to give full vent to one’s anger, sadness and disappointment, and maybe even to restart living. Yes, because those who survived had to start a new life, perhaps even far away from their own house, with another work, another life-style. However, each one of them found strength to restart. The moments of daily sharing within the group helped to re-read the ‘earthquake’ as a necessity to renew one’s life, to be strong when ‘the earth shakes underfoot’ and all around ‘falls down’.

«Each one of us has one’s own boulder, states Fr Tonino Bello, a huge rock, placed at the threshold of the soul, which does not allow oxygen to filter, which holds in a frosty grip, which blocks every possible ray of light, which does not allow to communicate with the other. It is the boulder of solitude, of wretchedness, of illness, of hatred, of despair, of sin. We are aligned tombs. Each one with its seal of death. Therefore, may Easter be for all the possibility to roll over the boulder, the end of nightmares, the beginning of light and spring of new relationships. And, if each one of us, comes out of his own tomb, should start working to remove the boulder of the nearby tomb, then the miracle of the earthquake which signed Jesus’ first Easter will be repeated: Easter is the feast of the rolling over of the boulders».

«We will continue to bear in our hearts the faces of the persons encountered – one of the volunteers stated – and hope that the community of Amatrice may find the strength to carry on». Probably, those who have overcome such a tragedy have understood which are the important things in life. And, perhaps, also the volunteers of Bari and Monza have understood this lesson.

prof. Vito Didonna