i bambini! [ why I fell in love with Italia #6 ]
Filipe B., 29.07.16
Oh yes, here I am talking about the kids of the Centro Educativo, trying not to burst into tears in the first line.
I had worked with kids before. Not in a professional way, let's say. But for many years I was responsable for helping with the musical and theatrical activities in a cultural/sports association (I was kind of a volunteer, because I was doing it for free, only because I wanted to).
Then, last year, I was going to schools to speak with young people about bullying, etc (this also as volunteer).
And here I am as a volunteer again. Volunteer forever! But let me tell you something. Even though it would seem like a "oh I did this before" thing, I was taken to another level of life. And you can argue "yeah yeah, but kids are kids no matter where", but I'm going to show why it was so different and special.
Starting with my first day there. Everything was new. Starting with the language. Then I was helping a kid with his homework and out of nowhere he started reading italiano very slowly... to make me understand it better. And - this was unexpected - he even started explaining some words in ENGLISH! How can you not love this? It was so natural of him. In this very first day I returned home with one certain thing: the next months would be emotionally thrilling.
And they were. Oh mother, they were!
In the Center we have kids with many different backgrounds, with diverse social habits, religions and with different... problems.
And I cannot write so much about it. But I highlighted some moments to make you understand how these kids treated me really, really in an amazing and lovely way.
"Filipe, do you want to come with me and my parents on vacation to the beach?"
"Ohhh... thank you, but I can't. I have to be here in the Center everyday."
"Dont worry. I will tell my dad to call the boss and she will let you go with us."
"Filipe, do you miss your family in Portugal?"
"Yes, I miss them a lot... of course".
"And do you have to go back?"
"Yes. I have to see them."
"And can't we go pick them by train so you can stay here?"
:D :D :D Life is so easy and pratical when you're a kid. This totally gave me shivers.
This next one is more serious. This was a really difficult kid. And many days I was like taking care of him. This day he had to study History but he was too agitated and didn't wanted to. So I was like "Okkkk... let's play calcino". (table football)
We went... and while we played, I started asking questions about History and what he had to study. And he answered everything. And he KNEW everything. This showed me that there isn't one single kid lost in the world. You just have to search new ways to do things (when you can)... and then... score some goals! Think again: we studied History while playing table football!! :O
And now I have to say this. All the educators of this Center taught me a lot about working with the kids in an educational matter. They were brilliant and let me repeat... brilliant! And I'm not saying this because I have to, but because it was really impressive to see them handle some situations with such calm towards the problems. They know how to do it. BRAVI!
Hmm, talking about problems. Let me say that I was never an easy kid. I was very good at school, but I was always a true rebel. Not easy to handle, I must honestly say. Ask my mom. No no, don't ask her, please! :P
And this enters here. The true is: I saw myself in many kids. I guess it happens to everyone in an Educational Center, but there was a kid that was more like a mirror of me.
He was trouble. But lovely. Deeply he was absolutely kind. But it took me a lot to understand it, because when it's your dark side that shines the most, it's not easy to show your true qualities. In the last weeks I was with him most of the time. And we talked a lot. Even when we was getting mad, I managed to keep us connected. I don't know why, really, don't ask me how.
Yesterday we had the big party in the Center and in the end, knowing that I'm going Home shortly, he came and hugged me saying this:
"You were my favourite here. I will miss you next year."
I don't even have to tell you what happened to me next, but I managed to tell him to be brave and good.
And now I will finish with the two most difficult goodbyes I had with these kids. They happened today. I will explain why it was so hard.
Two days a week I was doing homeworks with two special kids. But they were really, really special. Professionaly we call them disabled children, but for me they are extra able kids, 'cause they can reach you in so many different ways. For months I entered they worlds. I found happiness in diversity. I talked their language. Even when the conversation was about some pasta with superpowers. Even when for someone who could listen from outside, it would have no sense. And I loved every single word of it. For someone who likes to write, this was the best experience EVER, believe me. I will never have words to thank enough for this.
It was also the biggest challenge.
In the begining I was scared, thinking that maybe I couldn't handle it. But then I understood that some things are just born within you. And I was surrounded, I must repeat, by amazing educators that showed me a lot on handling this situations.
And now I'm crying like crazy. But I'm happy. Really happy because I lived all of this. And I will return Home with my heart full of love and after all I will make my mom proud. See? There isn't one single kid lost in the world.
Grazie a tutti voi!