Some other beautiful things in life
In my blog of July 8, I discussed some beautiful and some not so beautiful things in life.
I would like today share some thoughts and anecdotes about another very beautiful dimension of out earthly existence.
The torpor induced by the close to unbearable summer heat tends to make one think in only one thing: the sea. It is beautiful and now it is very clear; among the cleanest in Europe. Our sea is a beauty created by nature. It provides relaxation, exercise and pleasure. When we take care of the sea it becomes an added blessing.
More beautiful than the sea
But I write about another, more beautiful, thing which is totally the work of humans: voluntary work. This happens all the year round but it takes a more visible aspect during the summer months. I refer to voluntary work, in Malta and abroad.
The President’s foray to Peru with a group of volunteers gave a lot of visibility to this noble activity. While I write, the MSSP people are organising the annual activity called Tbissima. This is a fund raising activity aimed at helping the missionary work of the religious forming MSSP; an activity which would not happen without a lot of voluntary work. Peru is one of their outposts which benefitted from the good work of the President and his team of volunteer.
Some volunteers go to Third World countries. There are at the moment groups in, among other place, Ethiopia, Egypt and Brazil. Others visit places nearer home.
How much does a prostitute earn?
I met a young man who together with other young people has just returned from doing voluntary work in Italy. They visited the town of Bari. The poverty and deprivation they encountered is incredible. It outdoes the deprivation we associate with Third World countries.
There is a difference between the misery in Bari and the misery encountered by the volunteers who go to some Third World countries. Volunteer who went to Peru said that they encountered poor people; but they were serene and happy people. The misery encountered by the Maltese who visited Bari was not misery broken by serenity but misery made worse by criminality.
The group were told not to go out – even as a group – after five in the evening! The Mafia is the boss. Delinquency is the order of the day.
One particular sad experience is that of a 12 year old boy. His father abandoned them. His mother works as a prostitute to make ends meet. The boy feels responsibility for the family. He asked the Maltese youths how much a prostitute would earn in Malta. He wanted to gauge whether they should stay in Bari or come to Malta.
This is so sad.
I wrote that I was going to write about beautiful things and I end up by sharing a heart rendering anecdote. True. But the beautiful thing about it is the generosity of the Maltese youths who gave away their holidays to help others improve their lot. As long as there are more people like them, we can be positive about the future of humanity.
This positivity is increased because many persons dedicate much more than their summer holidays. It is fortunate that during the summer our media, probably because of the lack of other stories, give us more information about these initiatives.
Not just in summer
On such story was penned in The Sunday Times (July 29, 2012) by Claudia Calleja who has etched a niche for herself in journalism by concentrating on human interest stories.
Claudia introduced Dr Shaun Grech, a sociologist who founded and runs a project set up by Integra Foundation Malta, is funded by the Maltese Foreign Affairs Ministry and is run in partnership with local disabled people’s organisations. It is also supported by the Research Institute for Health and Social Change at Manchester Metropolitan University in the UK, where Dr Grech is a research fellow.
The project organises transport, funds private medical care and medication for the disabled and organises a long-term healthcare programme with their families and communities.
Grech and the other members of the team bring hope to disabled persons living in poverty. Fortunately legion is the name of those who like Grech bring hope to others in Malta and abroad.
Allow me to make one little suggestion.
Usually people post comments because they do not agree with what is written. Comments are generally posted as part of a controversy. Can you to-day make an exception and post an anecdote, experience or comment about some aspect of the voluntary work that is being done by so many and is giving hope to hundreds of thousands.