New Humanity Movement

Education and Culture

Viaggiokenya1

 

 

Notes on an extraordinary trip filled with colours, poverty and riches, spirituality and relationships. This is the heart of New Humanity in Kenya.

By Paolo Balduzzi

They had heard about it before leaving but they did not realize how contagious it was…. not even they were spared the African Sickness.

Feelings of nostalgia, an inner strength renewed by the friendships built in those countries, the evident desire to go back to those places in sub-Saharan Africa: all these make up the mosaic of wonders that one can read in the eyes of Cecilia Landucci and Patrizia Mazzola from the main secretariat of New Humanity as they tell us informally about their trip.

They spent eight days in Kenya from the 7th till the 16th of July so as to take part in a Convention on Education which brought together around 70 people from five countries: besides Kenya there were people from Burundi, Rwanda, Mozambique, Tanzania and Uganda.

This was the main reason for the trip made by these two teachers who work for New Humanity in the Commission “Education and Culture”.

«We felt the change even while we were still flying”- said Patrizia- «I saw this desert which was unbelievable after our clouds, the snow-capped Alps and the grey skies of Paris. Then there was a stretch of sea and the world changed. We saw Benghazi with its desert of red sand and the many attempts being made to use it for agriculture. We saw circular shapes being repeated in all the abandoned area.

The landscape contrasted sharply with the colourful welcome by members of the Movement which our two teachers found on arriving at the airport of the capital of Kenya.

After a day of rest, there was a veritable immersion into the African reality. Cecilia said: «The impact with the reality on the ground was very strong, especially during our visit to a school in one of Nairobi’s slums, Slum Mathare, where around 500,000 people live. In one of the huts, in conditions which are very difficult, nearly 30 children go to school and learn and study under the guidance of very good teachers. In that area the AFN had set up a Nutrition Centre nad the Church had given them a place to have a kindergarten».

Cecilia and Patrizia told us that the material poverty as well as the poor infrastructure were tremendous.In spite of having many young graduates, the country lacked electricians, builders, plumbers and carpenters. In fact maintenance work throughout the country was rarely done. «The best idea would be to build vocational schools that will give back to the country the skills that are missing».

So there was extreme poverty but also a great richness of humanity as we could see from the happiness of the slum children.  «And their world is everything to them. They have nothing, at times not even shoes. And yet there is a dignity that helps us westerners discover what our role could be».


This became evident even in the following days during the Convention with the other 70 teachers at the Mariapoli Piero, 27 kilometers away from Nairobi.Patrizia continues…«The people that we met are very humane and very spiritual. They are a ‘virgin people’ who bring together faith and a serenity which gives them an intense and sincere joy which in turn helps them to face great difficulties and leads them to a rebirth of life even in the most desperate situations.

And this is their first richness. The second is that thanks to these two elements everything is born, grows and is consolidated only as a result of the interpersonal relationships that make up the fabric of society. The quality of the relationships that we have seen is unbeatable. It is something cultural. You must first learn to listen, make yourself known and create a link with the people, and then all the rest will follow».

It was from this knowledge and from this life experience that we saw the great opportunity opening before us: «It was from the Convention, both through the sharing of experiences as well as from the criticisms received that we saw the need arising to network together as a first way of addressing the situation. There the people are used to working very hard but to working alone. For example there are three kindergartens in the same street which have the same problems but which also have resources that they can share.

Putting together all our resources is therefore the first step towards changing things and will lead to the discovery of a great cultural richness which the west, in some cases, has destroyed and is now suffering the consequences in its society».


Men and women who have been left alone to suffer are therefore asking even us “westerners” who are responsible for this state of affairs, to take this reciprocity o board so as to help these young nations, full of resources, to take their future into their own hands.

One of the participants is a witness to this : «During these days in a way that I have never seen before, I realized how important our experiences are. Our way of dealing with each other, of dealing with others is a model for all those who live around us but also for our students….I live in a Catholic school which lies in a Muslim quarter. I feel that my way f educating, in the light of the Ideal o Unity, is calling me to a profound dialogue with everyone even at my place of work, be they Muslims, Catholics…»

 

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