Syria - "You don't need to speak the same language to understand each other."

07 August 2018

(ANS - Kafrun) - "Welcome, you are welcome here! Welcome Mella, welcome!" These are the first words that Mariangela Branca, an Italian volunteer, heard in the Salesian oratory of Kafroun, on the border with Lebanon. "To show you affection, children and young people do not get tired of saying, 'I love you!'," she says. "A small group also enjoys teaching me something in Arabic. I'm really fortunate."

One day the electrical current is suspended, some girls are singing in the oratory; the stereo turns off suddenly but they continue to sing like nothing happened. It seemed like a game. We must sing even without music, I thought.

About 250 children come to the Youth Summer Camp, thirty animators; all Christians. Many come from the conflict zones: Ohms, Aleppo, Damascus. You often hear repeated: 'My house no longer exists, a bomb fell on it. Fortunately we had already left.'

During these years of the war in Aleppo, it is often repeated that 'for what I saw, lived and experienced, if I did not have much trust in God, I would have committed suicide.'

Faith is fundamental. I often wonder what I can do here, with the four words of Arabic that I know and few skills. Faith, I must have Faith, I repeat to myself. If God wanted me to be here, surely there is a reason ... I must learn from the Faith and from the hope of the people I meet! When I need it more then, a 'thank you for your presence, for being here' arrives, which makes me feel gratified.

You look like one of us!, they tell me. The olive-colored skin and the wavy black hair help to empathize with people. I like to say, 'Ana surija halla!,' I'm Syrian now!


Some young people, for whom a month-long experience had been prepared in the Salesian oratory of Madrid, were refused a visa for Spain. They are much better than me in holding back the disappointment: 'malesh, it doesn't matter, they say. Why can you come here and we cannot come to Europe?"I always ask myself too ...

Here there is an Italian Salesian, Father Luciano, who has been in the Middle East for almost 50 years; then a Salesian trainee, Mhran, Syrian, but who speaks perfect Italian, but we also understand each other with Jhonny and Georgette, Salesian Cooperators. The rest is with a bit of English, some of my contorted Arabic sentences and the beauty of speaking with the eyes, with gestures and with the heart.

You do not need to speak the same language to understand each other.

Don Bosco ICC



ANS - “Agenzia iNfo Salesiana” is a on-line almost daily publication, the communication agency of the Salesian Congregation enrolled in the Press Register of the Tibunal of Rome as n 153/2007.

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