Large “family” in reception centers

An almost unreal calm, an incredible sense of serenity you breathe in and that, for a moment, makes you forget about the emergency that surrounds you. This is the atmosphere that greeted me on Friday afternoons in the gymnasiums of the Itis “Nullo Baldini” and of the Surveyor’s Institute “Camillo Morigia” in Ravenna. The smile, calmness and helpfulness of the volunteers is the first element one realizes when entering the spaces of these two schools in Ravenna, turned into reception centers for flood emergencies that keep much of the province and the city of Ravenna under control.

There is a light rain (which would be noticeable in the normal period, but these days it only adds to the bad mood), so I entered Morigia’s gymnasium. A new reception space has been created here for the many people displaced from flooded or vulnerable areas. The cribs still have to be created, but the first IDPs are already there, mostly coming from Furnes Zarateni. Among them is a cute little family, with two little girls. The girls are playing, and the parents seem calm. So I approached them, afraid to disturb them. Instead, they are very helpful: they explained to me that their house was not flooded at the moment, but that the light had gone out. So they had no choice but to leave.

But in the gym there is still a lot to do. The volunteers do not stop for a moment, it is the municipal councilors Giancarlo Schiano and Gianmarco Pozzi who coordinate with them and welcome the newly displaced people who arrive at the gym. Need new things to complete setup. So I take volunteers through the halls of the deserted school. We go into a classroom to get chairs and desks: under some there are still books and notebooks, which some students have left for the next day, not realizing that the closure of the institutes will be longer than expected. We bring everything you need to the gym, make tables and a refreshment point. The food, as the volunteers explain, is fortunately not lacking. Ravenna Solidarity Merit.

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The heart and emotion towards the flooded citizens can be seen walking the halls of the nearby Etis School. Here, in the “Signolfi” gymnasium, another reception point for the displaced has been set up since the beginning of the emergency. In some rooms a kind of warehouse was created for food and basic necessities. Here, too, there are many volunteers: there are Red Cross operators, scouts, and even municipal school teachers, who have become laborers who cook and serve food and play with the children.

Here, in the spaces of the Etis gymnasium, there are about a hundred displaced people: among them children, the elderly and even refugees. But “a lot has been through here,” says the parliamentarian from Ravenna, Wadad Bekali, who is on site with Senator Marco Croatti. In fact, many of the first IDPs to arrive at Itis Gymnasium found a new location. There are those who are now staying with friends or relatives, who have been moved elsewhere due to special needs. First of all, we thought of the most fragile, those with difficulties and who need more suitable accommodations. Many are now welcomed in the many hotels in the area, especially on the beaches of Ravenna.

There is an air of tension in the air, and there is no escaping it. It is not known what to expect from these waters, whether those that fall from the sky or that descend inexorably into the valley. But in two great gymnasiums life can be seen going on in the same vein, despite the difficulties, despite the world that seems to want to collapse on us and drag us down. Where does this serenity come from? Perhaps it comes from the frequent smiles of the volunteers present, who are divided into shifts. They move with great professionalism and inspire calm, like sea captains in the midst of a storm. Then there are the displaced people, who also want to do something, they don’t want to sit idly by, and above all they don’t want to lose hope. Volunteers and evacuees, together, united, as one big family. Added to all this is the pride of Romania, which never makes us give up. What “Sl’è not us’ fare dè” tells us. The strongest bank, which is inside each of us.

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Phil Schwartz

"Food expert. Unapologetic bacon maven. Beer enthusiast. Pop cultureaholic. General travel scholar. Total internet buff."

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