by Cristian Calderón - OSC
This young lover of photography and animals is originally from Rivera, a city in the interior of Uruguay, and in his childhood he learned the devotion to Mary Help of Christians from his mother, Noemí Sánchez. "She taught me to always be ready to serve others and to give respect and love because it is there that God will make Himself present."
How would you define yourself as a volunteer?
I am willing to serve and accompany. All my motivations lie in the desire to share my time with the children, loving them and seeing Jesus in them. For me it is essential to give oneself to the mission and to love wherever one finds oneself.
When did the motivation for making this choice arise in you?
During the year of the Bicentenary of the birth of Don Bosco. The "Giovanni XXIII" Institute of Montevideo, in Uruguay, did a mission experience with high school students, who then came to my city. On the feast of Don Bosco, I saw a sign saying "Salesian Missionary Volunteers" and I asked myself: "what's it about?" Then I discovered it and I learned that it was a group that made this experience as a space of discernment to see the call of God to the mission, Salesian-style. In January 2016, I had an experience of 15 days with them and I started upon a path, lasting until last year, when I asked myself where was it that I really felt happy: I saw that everything was summarized in the mission, something that really excited me.
What experiences have marked you on this path?
There is an experience that I have lived in my city: one time I was talking to people and I encouraged them to dream big, but they told me that this was not possible because they lived in a small town and so they could not go far. So I told them that this was not an obstacle, and I committed myself to becoming a good example, that you can get a profession and give your family the best of it. Even in my work, I find myself having to help children with intellectual, physical and motor disabilities (Giuliano studies Hippotherapy) and even there I can meet God.
All these things have been decisive for giving my yes and placing my heart at the service of others.