Exactly five years ago I had fewer dark circles, slightly more elegant clothing and a much more comfortable life. I was a legal consultant for an international firm in Milan and I alternated the days between PCs, meetings and expensive dinners on the Navigli.
I chased the flow of a time already written letting the showcase of status fill the hours broken by a light frenzy, placidly lying on a current that after university had led me to choose the easiest and most ordinary thing.
I earned a salary with which I could do what I wanted and a few hours a week to do it. I had a “brilliant career” ahead of me and a feeling that that sparkle changed little or nothing about my happiness. I spent hours and hours preparing practices to arrive punctually at the end of the month with the intense feeling of not having contributed to the well-being of anyone who really needed it.
I remember breaking this loop of routine to chase a confused and necessary feeling. I began to feel the contact of poverty on my skin, the rhythm of need, the smell of real life beyond the glossy covers.
This search for fragility led me to choose a dirty and intense life in the middle of the Congolese countryside, on a journey of dignity alongside hundreds of people. Then I look at the relaxed pupils of the me of five years ago and I find inside a cloud of questions to which I am learning to find answers. Over the past five years I have learned to live with meaning in every action of the day.
Or at least I’ve learned the importance of always trying. I learned to speak with the eyes in the silence of the looks and that there is a common language that does not need to be pronounced to become a means of communication. I learned that there is more value in the rough and poor hands of mothers in the fields than in the indifferent pupils of those who have never seen a pair.
I learned that development is not measured by the number of iPhones in your pocket but by the ability to feel intertwined in the lives of those we meet, wherever they come from. I learned to be the dad, mom and son of people I had just met. I learned that beyond the beaten path there is a huge and mysterious reality that must be lived to do justice to the time spent. And that the face of what will be next depends on every single choice.
Today I look back and I realize that getting out of that dark suit meant living in uncertainties, contrasts, weaknesses and shattered hopes. Even feeling lonely at times. Also wondering why.
Then I think that at the bottom of all this there has been an immense journey in the discovery of meaning. A journey so deep and clear that it leaves no room for regret, but an intense and light sensation of satisfied justice. With all due respect to dark circles and white hair.
Elena and I have recently launched a new fundraising campaign to equip the Kanyaka school with two new multifunctional classrooms in which to carry out inclusive and equal teaching courses, with the help of international pedagogues, artists and trainers. It is a new step in the path to offer the new generations quality tools with which to free themselves from the yoke of necessity, which in these lands means working in mines under inhumane conditions.
We need 5,000 euros to realize this new dream of empathy. It is a goal that we know is enormous for our possibilities. We try the same, believing once again in the disruptive power that collaboration can create.
“Together” is the word that represents the only thrust capable of carrying out this new chapter in the history of cooperation as necessary as it is just. Each donation and sharing is a huge help to make this utopia possible, where the habit of dreaming has been lost.
If you can, donate or share now: here is the link. Elena and I will stay in Congo for the entire period of the works in order to monitor every step and tell the impact to those who want to hear the story. After all, Elena and I are happy to have turned our lives upside down to discover a new soul made of simple and heated empathy.
And now we can’t wait to overturn the students we meet along our path, discovering the possibilities that only quality education can create. Thanks in advance to those who want to be part of our dream of hope.