LETTER – DECEMBER 23RD, 2022

December 23rd, 2022

We are renovating all the physical structure of Plato, which was falling apart after two years of pandemics and torrential rains.
Depression, hunger and even tragedies of fishermen with their scarce work, due to climate change, have created another dramatic condition of absolute poverty. It takes a lot of strength and a lot of courage to move forward, sometimes it falters, then it returns and then it weakens again. But when I see the simple joy of someone who rediscovers the beauty of values in his own existence, here I find strength and courage.

Working to help those who have nothing is like experiencing an extraordinary gift because you DONATE. That is the gift, and I don’t think there is a greater joy.

With great excitement we are trying to restart the whole school machine with various activities, we are about to host even the very young who are not 3 years old yet and time seems to have stopped many years ago. Actually, everything is changing rapidly, even children influenced by the INTERNET are looking for different things, but in some way, poverty and hunger still keep them anchored to simple things, trying to conquer these simple things. While a large part of the world still accumulates and counts its assets, there is a part of humanity that just can’t make it. This year I have retouched with my hands (being there on site) the misery, both where we have the school and in Orissa where we are following this project in connection with tribal peoples.

Every time it’s a surprise, every time it’s a new time.

Seeing the absolute discrepancy between those who have to look for food every day in order to survive and the waste that still exists among us Western people, is far-fetched. I’ve been trying since 1999 to talk, tell, explain, share, but I’m not sure I’ve succeeded really well, even if those who have been following me for many years have given me the feeling of being able to share, in part at least.
The last 3 years have shaken the whole planet, I have met people who were dignified until yesterday and today are completely in misery, people full of ideas, who have given themselves to work, who have run far and wide to help others in terrible conditions that today are suffering from poverty, that is devouring them… but there is wonderful news about Rajesh, the young man we have been following for fifteen years. He is now graduated, but unemployed, completely poor. He tries to help his father who lives in the border of Himalayas, an extreme place, in a sheet metal shack. Gerardo went to see him and we decided to build their house. The cost is ridiculous, but it will give life, strength and hope to a father and son who could never have believed they could make this dream come true.
Below is a letter written by Gerardo about Rajesh’s situation.

We continue our journey to bring help and support where and how we can, but with constancy and love.

Thank you to those who support us to be able to help people who can’t make it. We wish you joy and confidence in this New Year.

The Foundress

Valeria Viola Padovani


 

I was in OKHLADUNGHA IN THE VILLAGE OF LIKHU. Here at 2800 meters above sea level, on these endless terraces, Rajesh’s father lives. We left at 6 in the morning by bus from Kathmandu and arrived at 9.00 in the evening after a journey on impossible roads and with the ever-present danger of ending up in a precipice. Once we got off the bus, with a sigh of relief, we had a two-hour walk on invisible paths in total darkness with the only help of a small torch. Being three people, it was impossible to illuminate everyone’s steps at the same time. As soon as we arrived, Rajesh’s father welcomed me with a simple but heartfelt ceremony, placing a crown of beautiful flowers and a white scarf around my neck.
After a frugal dinner prepared over the fire in a hovel that serves as a kitchen, we collapsed and went to bed. But it was difficult to sleep, due to the intense cold that the thin sheet metal walls certainly couldn’t protect us from. Only when I woke up I was able to look around and admire the paradise that surrounded me, a medieval paradise made up of work in the fields, human and animal industriousness, the smiles of people who are clearly in poverty but who emanate sweetness and dignity. All topped off with endless landscapes, the noise of nature and the Himalayan mountains that you can almost touch. Since last year, Rajesh’s father has been left alone and in absolute poverty; so now father and son are getting to know each other, because since Rajesh found him, about 10-11 years ago, they have met each other only a few times. One studied in the city and the other struggled with daily survival in the village.
He is 56 years old, but he looks much older because he lived a real life of hardship and many years as a sherpa bearer, he has been to Everest base camp many times. His only possessions are a hen, a rooster, two goats and two small Nepalese cows that he uses to plow the little land he manages to cultivate. He also used to have two chicks but the fox has come. The house is made up of two sheet metal huts, one for the kitchen and the other for sleeping, where in the evening it’s like entering a cold room, and cold season hasn’t arrived yet. I slept here for 6 nights and, if during the day you were in heaven for the warmth and the fantastic views, at sunset the cold nightmare began.
After several failed attempts to find a house for rent or for sale in the village, the idea of building a new one came, on the only 500 square meters of land he owns. The cost and the difficulties are due to the fact that all the necessary material has to be carried on the shoulders as there are no roads that arrive nearby. The journey is at least one km all uphill. The stone, on the other hand, can be obtained on site. Two or three small rooms could be built with a bathroom and a small kitchen, the cost of which amounts to around 8/10 thousand Euros at most…
In faith
Gerardo Centanni

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