It is now four days that we arrived in Bari. The journey was (thanks to some friends of Taize in Rome) already a nice experience. Thanks on this occassion again to Alessia and Santiago. I'm sure this note will reach them somehow.. In Rome we did not only get a short light of how it must have been in Rome when gladiators were fighting, but also a one first taste of the amazing Italian kitchen. That was three times Big McMenu. I continue to make advertisement..
After some compensating drinks in the train, thanks to an electricity problem, we arrived in Bari! And now we really got in touch with the Italian kitchen - it was so good after this long day!! While having amazing pizzas (with thin crust, the way they do it in Bari) we were very warmly welcomed by Don Giovanni (a wonderfully charismatic and engaging priest) and good friends of him. Then we got into the parish house that is so alive. It seems to have its own soul. So much people that are engaging themselves and a real parish community waited for us to be experienced..Perhaps we can write more about it, soon - because a lot can be said about it. We will see..
But now I really want to write about our main project here: four times a week we visit a refugee camp with 1800 people of 28 nations. When we arrived I was a bit shocked. It was really a big thing to get there. It seemed like a high security prison. We first had to pass a security control from the army to get to the area, where the train passes by and the airport is around the corner. Then we needed to drive for two kilometres to finally arrive at another fence. There we had to show our permission-cards to actually enter the camp.
In the camp however we were kindly welcomed by the ones who work there and also by the ones who live there. We have been introduced to the bureaucracy center, the medical center, the psychological center and the law center. Furthermore there is a police station, a big place to eat in the center (the mensa), a big football field, a small army station, a small kindergarden and a lot of barracks to live in. All that is on a small area. So you could say it is like a small village that has everything for daily life - perhaps too much, because there is only few to work, at that place. Meanwhile, we play every morning with the little children. And I just want to share one experience from yesterday. We painted with different colours a game on the floor. The children were so much laughing and some people came to see what is happening. And I had the impression they would have liked to join us but were a bit too shy.. But the laughter of the children was so infectious that everyone seemed soon happy for that moment.
I think a lot of discussion can be made of this refugee camp and on the situation of the refugees in total, but for me, this simple moment touched me most in the last days. Because it created this simple and so important connection between those who have been there.
Hopefully more, soon!
Rui, Szilard and Markus