Potpourri & The Tenth Week in Sicily

My holidays are gone and now I am back to business! This week we cleaned up the beach in Messina and I traveled to Terrasini – Palermo Province, for Active Citizenship and Volunteering project. By the end of the week I went for the urban trekking (archeological visit) in Messina, to find the hidden treasures, full of history.

Right before the final stage of the project, promoted by the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy, together with the regional associations of volunteering (and CESV as well), taking place in Terrasini, a small town on the sea about 30 km away from Palermo, I participated in another activity aiming to clean an area on Messina beach. The protagonists were the students from the Nautical High School, who accompanied us in Terrasini as well. The activity aimed to raise young people awareness on the necessity of active implication in social issues and the importance of volunteering. For a few hours, the students, together with  their teachers and official representatives, cleaned up the beach and learnt what responsibility and respect for the environment means, as well as team work and mature behavior to everything surrounding us.

In Terrasini, there was organized a Regional Campus called Spaccadinanza, I Republicca dei Raggazi  where the team was made up of 150 participants, with students and volunteers from the other regions involved in the project (Patti, Corleone, Marsala, Palermo and Catania). For two days, everyone was caught in the activities aimed to a specific thematic area: environmental and legal issues, land, rights and legal issues, culture and inter generational relations, sustainability and life styles, in order to enliven the spirit of community in young people and to develop a non-individualistic life style to feel part of the community. These young people challenged their imagination creating various materials and cards, and a youth city, a city of the future, where people are involved, are responsible and actively participate in the community life. Their ideas were great! In the end, they destroyed everything they worked for the entire afternoon and reconstructed all from the start (to reinforce the idea of active citizenship). Also, each school prepared a short movie on the active citizenship and participation, with social messages on responsibility, road safety and alcohol consumption, all of them being very well made! The week-end was entertained by a rapper called Othelloman, who made everyone dance, joke, and be responsible and mature at the same time. In between, I managed to admire and enjoy the view to the mountain collapsing in the sea, with the fine sand on the beach, the crystal clear water and the most beautiful sunrise and sunset seen from the highest terrace of the hotel.

On Sunday, I went back to Messina for urban trekking. The activity called Vie di Pietra (Stone Road) was created as a passeggiata archeologica (archeological stroll) and it was organized by Legambiente Messina Association, Pres. Danielle Ialacqua, in partnership with experts in Messina. I had four guides, prof. Gabriella Tigano, prof. Elvira D’Amico, prof. Maria Ravesi, and prof. Pippo Martino, who presented us places of special interest, which aren’t yet „visible” to the tourists nor to the residents of city. It’s been the perfect time to see what tourists don’t know to look for and to take advantage of information received from experts. For about four hours, I wandered around the city with other 50 people and I have seen artifacts and archeological sites, dating from prehistory, Greek, Roman and Medieval era, some of them being hard to reach as they were located on private properties or could not be seen but only by invited groups. Their initiative was commendable and it isn’t the only one because they organize such visits outside Messina as well, where there are places of historical interest, which they want to make more known, and to rebuild them with European funds or help from the authorities, to introduce them in the touristic maps and to make them more valued. It’s been a really nice activity and I actually showed my willingness to participate in other guided visits in order to better understand the history of these places which adopted me for a few months.

Translated by Oana Zlatovici – Potpourri member studying in Sweden