Ecuador - "My experience in Esmeraldas shall be unique and unparalleled": Gino, the Uruguayan volunteer

24 December 2019

(ANS - Esmeraldas) – Saying goodbye to one's mission place and moving away from the people with whom one shared so much is one of the saddest moments that a volunteer lives. His level of commitment to the people who welcomed him is so strong that saying "goodbye" means arming himself with courage and closing a life cycle to continue with the projects that God has prepared for him. Giuliano Maggi, affectionately known as "Gino", an Uruguayan volunteer who collaborated on the Salesian project "Chicos de la Calle" (Street Children) in the city of Esmeraldas, experienced it. "My experience in Esmeraldas shall be unique and unparalleled."

Were you surprised by the place where you volunteered?
I believe that the experience in Esmeraldas goes beyond surprise: one leaves with an expectation, but this then ends up being surpassed. You are surprised at every moment of volunteering, from the first meetings until you feel that people welcome you and make you part of their daily life, as an extra member of their family. All the work ends up being wonderful and the most difficult thing is to close the cycles, because then you end up working in a group. I had the opportunity to restart a group of percussionists and my objective was that they learn and improve their skills.

What made this experience in Esmeraldas unique?
God invites you to open up and let yourself be loved; sometimes one arrives with an attitude of closure and our Lord invites us to love and to live, to be witnesses and to put into practice in our lives the values ​that He has lived, to go out to meet the poorest and make the experience of Jesus alive, but in one's personal life.

Has your life changed after this experience?
On an academic level, it invites me to study again, to start training in Psychology and to study Physical Education. I thought about new projects and still imagine myself busy working with street children, but only God knows.

The happiest moments you have experienced?
I felt satisfied when I played soccer with the youngsters, which was a reason for meeting and apostolate in an activity that they liked. Another good moment was that of the experiences with the "Missionary Childhood" group: those young people invite you to live the faith in a different way.

What did you learn from the Salesians?
I really appreciated their work. Father Pedro Vidal is an example of a saint among us: he always leaves time to be with the children. And there is Guadenzio Sosio, who is 80 years old, but with the vitality of a young man, and he spends his time working in the workshop so that the kids learn a job and put aside their vices.


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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