Waiting for Christmas
we are writing you in order to keep you updated about the Centre Pinocchio. We have some good news to tell you, but unfortunately also a tragic loss that affected us several months ago.
Recently, a small delegation of IBO representatives visited the centre in Panciu. The delegation was composed by Ermelinda Pittelli (Fund Raising coordinator), Alberto Osti (President of IBO Italia) and Daniele Osti (IBO member).
Here you are a short abstract of Ermelinda's travel diary of those days...
We arrive during the night and go to the guesthouse. We take a shower after the long trip and then go to bed. The morning after, we immediately head to the Centre Pinocchio without even having breakfast. At 9 am the socio-educational activitites start. We meet Monica, local project coordinator, and Larisa, a young worker who has administrative tasks and supports the kitchen's activities. Soon after, three Italian IBO volunteers within the National Civil Service (Manuel, Sara and Roberta), together with a German volunteer called Franziska and Andrés, a Peruvian volunteer, welcome us. In half an hour, all the children start filling the garden outside the centre: while the younger children immediately start playing with the volunteers, the older ones finish their holiday homeworks before the start of the new scholastic year.
In the meantime, we take the chance to have a look around, noticing that the whole structure is very well-maintained by the volunteers and local staff, after the massive renovation work that was carried out some years ago. The furniture and tables are still brand new and the bathrooms are all clean. Likewise, the kitchen and the canteen are still in very good conditions.
On the kitchen's walls there are little pieces of tape that indicate the children's names. When it's time for a snack, every tape is fixed on a glass. I can't help myself from noticing one particular name on the upper part of the wall: GIMI. As you might have understood from our Facebook page or newslatter, last summer a tragic accident affected all the people at the Pinocchio centre. In a summer day, the river flow dragged Gimi away, and the child tragically died of drowning. He was only 15 years old, full of life and he was dreaming of being a mechanic in the future. We have all gathered around the family, the centre and the whole community to support them.
Monica needs to speak to a girl's mom, because she suspects the child might be suffering from scabies and she asks me to go with her to Vale Brazi, where the majority of Roma children live. She tells me it could be a good chance to say hi and support Gimi's mom and grandma. I was not prepared for that. The first time I met Gimi he was a little kid, I've seen him growing up into a young boy and now all that's left of him is a piece of tap on the kitchen's wall. However, nobody is at home, and the exterior light is on, as a mourning sign.
Thus, we decide to go back and we bump into Ionut, another child with beautiful dark hair who attended the Centre years ago. He's now 19 years old. As soon as he see us, he stops, waves at us and asks us how we are, telling us about his family and his two children. His granpa is standing next to him, a still pretty young man, who is however very shabby, looking much older than he really is. On the other hand, Ionut's children are young, very beautiful, very clean and uptight.
Thinking about Gimi and meeting Ionut and his children makes me realize the importance of our mission in Panciu. Ionut is very different from all the people who surround me: the Centre Pinocchio, as well as all the volunteers and staff involved, really had an impact in changing his life.
Today we finally have the time to speak to Monica for a while. She tells us that she's really happy with the work at Pinocchio, due to the fact that this year for the first time more than 50 children are attending the centre and the relationship with the families is really improving overtime.
Furthermore, she tells us how complicated and tiring her job at the centre is, underlining how she always has to manage multiple tasks with the children, the volunteers and the institutions. She asks us if we could give her more help by hiring another professional educator who can support her in order to offer a high-quality service to the Centre. Then, she shows us the upper floor of the Centre, where the renovation works are not finished yet: we are all satisfied in seeing the works progressing, Monica is day-dreaming and she clearly cannot wait to move all the activities there, where the rooms are bigger and there are even two bathrooms with showers the children will use.
We go back downstairs, where Andres, the Peruvian volunteer, who's also an artist, shows us his project. In the following weeks, the Centre is going to close for a few days and all the kids will find a big surprise when they'll get back there: a giant murales that is going to cover all the facade and will represent Pinocchio's tale."
The things to tell you are a lot, it's not easy to summarize the daily "life" at the Centre Pinocchio on a page, but we hope we took you for a while to Panciu with us.
Thank you for everything you do, your support is essential for the future of the disadvantaged children attending the Centre Pinocchio.
We wish you a Merry Christmas and a super Happy New Year!
Municipality's recognition for Centre's daily work
The new murales and the snow