Saturday, May 15, 2010

Thoughts of an Italian Writer: (4a)

Dr. Antonio Castaldo for IESUS European Institute of Humanities and Social Sciences.

"The Earthquake in Abruzzo, Voices of Hope"

(Continue from (4)

A couple of miles downstream, precisely Poggio Picenze, is located on the field assembled and managed by the Civil Protection of Regione Campania present with men and equipment, personnel, health facilities and even a toy library.

But it is from the Campo di San Martino, who begin to know the varied humanity among quake survivors and relief workers, civilian and military, secular and religious needs and to exchange support, comfort and pain, loss and hope. In the personal memories of young people, hand in a tragic and supportive context, I preserve a month's work in the reconstruction of Friuli, in an international field, for reconstruction after the earthquake of 1976. Then fear for their loved ones in the distance, for the work in Emilia Romagna, cleared in a long night's journey home surpassing columns of motor vehicles and rescue workers on the highway heading south.

The Campo di San Martino, looks a bit, I immediately know Martino. The immediate empathy interjects into the narrative: "I'm here but in my heart the years of children, those who lived, up to the middle schools to Nomadelfia near the community of Don Zeno. I am a spiritual son of Norina and her teaching I took yesterday, Good Friday, some girls at my house, after approval of the Fire Brigade, to be able to take a shower. After the first days of continuous intervention in the field. I myself am breathing in the first few hours of rest. However, life is hard, we go forward with so many sacrifices, but the lessons of "Mamma Norina" help us to orient and know how to behave. I have two daughters who live outside, so between today and tomorrow I will be able to spend a few days with them." To Martin, I see that child from a photo printed on the 1959 book that was given to me, written by his "Mother of Vocation" Norina, a gift in return, as he moved, my documentary on the "Festa dei Gigli of Brusciano" wishing him a moment of calm after so much suffering. The extraordinary experience which refers to Martino comes from the "revolutionary" existence of the evangelical inspiration of the Community of Nomadelfia, founded by Don Zeno Saltini together all'Opera Piccoli Apostoli, in the thirties in the province of Modena. Today Momadelfia, which means "where the fraternity is the law" is located in the area of Grosseto.

The emotions are incurred and they are multiplied, like in the night of Holy Saturday, during the Mass officiated by Father Benjamin Dasan Kuzhyar, under the tent that serves as a dining hall during the day. The priest invites “whoever desires,” to his side close to the temporary altar for the biblical readings. There arrives a sailor, then a volunteer of the Civil Defense, then a young man of his parish. I too would like to launch in reading to say "I am too at your side." Father Benjamin is of Indian origin and I wanted to know the genesis of his vocation thinking about the varied social and religious panorama of his homeland. The priest told me of his renunciation to life as a skilled watchmaker, but being the son of a building constructor of churches has left the sign and indicated to the young Benjamin the way to follow. Now, as pastor of seven churches, he finds himself with all its places of worship in a tent useless, celebrating the mass for the evacuees and the volunteers of Campo di San Martino di Licenze. In the Holy night, when the religious rite was concluded, Mayor Domenico Panone and his Deputy Mayor Giuseppe Calvisi, of the City of Barisciano, spoke thanking all the volunteers who came from all over Italy with the Civil Defense to the rescue of Abruzzo and their small country, Barisciano with its surroundings. To them, in parting, greetings were conveyed from the Mayor of Brusciano Angelo Antonio Romano, Vice Mayor Vincenzo Cerciello, the Prime Minister Antonio Di Palma and the entire community of Brusciano with the promise of success and concrete aid.

Easter Sunday where at the village of Onna is most filled with mourning, has lost a third of its 350 inhabitants and 75% of its built heritage. I know Tonino, a 69 year old farmer, the only one you can see from a distance while handling the animals. Hens scratch free. Firefighters working through the rubble. Tonino talks about his distrust of the gamekeeper who fined him several times about irregular pathways of activated water for the watering of his land. Recalling ideological atmosphere of the early twentieth century as told in "Fontamara," the novel by Ignazio Silone. Then, about water, Tonino invites me to look at the crack that was opened by the earthquake at the riverbank Aterno, about a mile from the village. We are on the left bank of Aterno and on the spot I could see the rift that has opened. Its awesome, it zigzagged for a hundred yards wide in some places about 15 inches, like a snake goes to the river and then gets lost somewhere, imagine leaving a dark, unfathomable, mysterious depths.

To be continued: Earthquake in Abruzzo (4b)

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