It has been a few weeks since I have been in the “Ciloto” Salesian mission in Makululu, Kabwe District. "Ciloto" in the local language, Bemba, means dream. Will my dream come true here too?
My first choice for my volunteer work was India. It was not possible. Now I'm happy to be here. For me it's still like a dream, so unreal. They've torn me out of my home, my job and everything I've experienced up to now. Everything is new and different. People, climate, food and language. I'm slowly getting used to the reality around me. I know the kids, I learn their names and their behavior. Also, I'm slowly learning their language to be able to communicate better, because not everyone speaks English.
When I arrived, I was very worried that maybe I wouldn't make it, because I don't have any special skills to work with children. Now I understand that it is just a matter of accompanying them, knowing what their needs are and then trying to respond to them.
What I do here derives from observation. At one of the first Masses with the children, I noticed that one of them had a big tear in his trousers. So I took them and stitched them up, and that's how I started. There is no day when Monika, the other volunteer, and I don't help the youngsters with manual work. And I found that some people have extraordinary imagination and talent: they made a shoe from a piece of wood and two strips, glasses with wire, and a guitar from other found materials.
Here there are 40 resident children, and about 35 others come to the center every day, that is, they have the opportunity to shower, go to school, eat. It's all very noisy and fun. They argue and fight, but they also take care of each other. I start the day with them at 6 for Mass and finish at 21 when the kids have their last lessons, mostly reading or studying, or watching a movie or telling a fairy tale on weekends.
During the day I help them to go to school, to arrange their clothes, to organize their free time, to animate the oratory, to pray with them, to learn to read. The days are full of their presence and their business.
The mission of "Ciloto" is a dream especially for these young people, who have been deprived of their home and their family. They have lost it due to poverty, material exploitation, unemployment, family conflicts, rejection, violence and many other consequences of the lack of social justice and mutual love.
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