• raised €11,00
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Campaign description

A special weekend

It’s nearly midday when me and Luca get on our overloaded “Four by Four” car, and enter the B1, one of the few asphalted roads of the Namibia, the main artery that crosses the country from North to South. We are directed to North, in the Bushmen land, to Mangetti Dune, one of the many villages lost in the ‘nowhere’. As we go away from Windhoek, we meet the typical collective taxis, the small buses that during the week end are filled up of people coming back to their villages…

The road is long and straight and we must drive for a lot of hours, only tomorrow in the late morning we’ll be able to reach our destination.

We stop to sleep in a small chalet of stone, in a small “guest farm” along the road, when the sunset begins and the shadows become long and rosy. It is not possible to travel during the night along these roads, too many animals cross the road, large antelopes (kudu) that jump up to three meters of height for crossing the fences, families of warthogs, herds of ostriches…. Around us, this evening too, Africa gives us one of its colourful and unforgettable sunsets.

Crossing the Bushmenland

On Saturday morning, when the down arrives, we already are on our car, for the last 200 KM of our travel. Immediately we leave the tar road and turn on a gravel track that will lead us after approximately an hour to the “Veterinary Gate”, born in order to avoid diffusing of epidemics and contaminations between the controlled cattle of the South of the Namibia and that of the northeast, the wilder zone of the country.
Romanus opens the gate for us, smiling like always, and he is still happier, when Luca gives him the football for the local soccer team that he promised him some months ago…

We are now in the Bushmen land, we cross scattered villages that alternate, one after the other…. At last, after more or less three hours of travel, we arrive to Mangetti Dune, that seems a village like all the others but in reality is “a special” village, where a special person has created a small world from the ‘nothing’. Mangetti Dune was a South African military base, occupied by UN troops at the end of the war of independence in order to guarantee free elections in the country, around 1988.

Melitta's choice

When everybody came back to their homes, more than 15 years ago, Melitta remained in Mangetti,……. not being able to remove from her eyes and her heart the poverty and desolation of these places. From then, Melitta, Swiss doctor-surgeon, lives in Mangetti, where has founded a hospital and an orphanage named Casa Angelo. The hospital takes care of the inhabitants of all the San villages of the area and the orphanage takes in vulnerable and abandoned children. When the children grow up, Melitta provides to send them to colleges in “city”, in order to allow them to continue in their studies, to have formation and perspectives. The orphanage can be managed and go on especially thanks to the aids of many private benefactors who know Melitta and how much she is making for this country.
Luca has already met Melitta some months ago and day after day he won her diffidence, the diffidence of who from many years sees to alternate exponents of ONG and many humanitarian associations, sometimes improvised, that too much often propose solutions without listening to the real problems, that expect to teach and to solve the needs of a world that they do not know… Perhaps Melitta has seen in our enthusiasm, our simplicity and our way of listening something new…

Arriving in Mangetti

We arrive to Mangetti and we start putting on our tent in the “campsite”, that is a space with some trees and grass behind the church. After only one minute, several big black eyes begin to appear behind in the bush, materializing themselves from the null: they are the small “messengers” of Melitta, arrived to receive us. After having “helped” us to set up the camp, they take us by hand and we all go to the orphanage. They are serene and cheerful and happy to show us their house and their “family”. It’s funny to hear them speaking a little of English and a little of San, the language of the Bushmen, made of clicks and sound impossible to repeat for us… They continue to repeat our names, so unusual of them… “Luca.. Cecilia.. Luca.. Cecilia..”

Melitta’s ‘terrorists’

The orphanage takes care of 17 children today, or better 17 “terrorists” as Melitta calls them lovingly; many of them have a past to forget and only from time to time it comes back in their black and deep eyes. There is a child found abandoned along the road, a little girl with the look of an antelope who had a terrible experience when she was younger…

Pinocchio’s tale

In the house of Melitta, Casa Angelo, all the children live in harmony, are looked after and loved, brought up and supported to face the world again. We spend all the day with them, and we deliver our gifts: a great Pinocchio all in wood and some DVD with several versions of the tale of Pinocchio.

We insert the DVD in the old DVD-reader… all the children are sitting down in circle in front of the television with the eyes wide open: they are amused and they laugh a lot seeing the misadventures of the wooden made puppet, the same one that they tighten in their arms.

It’s our simple way to say that all the children of the world should be equal…

The Bushmen village

But we come here with a second precise scope too… not only spending one lovely day with Melitta’s terrorists, but also to undertake our first initiative: the first official ‘mission’ of our new born Association… in short…. the first spark!!!

Melitta knows every palm of Mangetti surroundings. She is the one that can help us to distribute “our goods”, what we have been able to collect with the first adhesions and donations, especially cloths and shoes for children. All this must be made in a fair way, to truly needy persons, without offending their dignity, helping without creating beggars. With Melitta and the “terrorists” we leave Mangetti and move towards the inner villages, which can be reached only driving on narrow and sandy tracks, which pt to hard test our Four by Four (and its driver).

‘Sailing’ on the sand, we arrive at the first bushmen village, where all the clan welcomes us. The older woman, sitting in front of her hut, authorizes us to enter.

The village’s poverty

The village is barren and dry. No fire, no pots, which means drought and scarce food. The bushmen live of what they collect in the “bush”, of hunting and some small form of agriculture. They were in the past hunters and gatherers but not breeders neither farmers. This year drought is already creating problems, because the rain season has been insufficient to assure water reservoirs. Few animals to hunt, poor grass, few berries and roots to gather…

In addition to this the “Namibian winter” that, despite of the warm and sunny days, cause the temperature to drop below zero during the night…

It’s not easy to stand the cold, especially for the undressed children. It’s too dangerous to light the fire in the wooden hut, but is also dangerous to sleep outside around the fireplace….The wild animals that live here, especially hyenas, too much often during the night take advantage of the kids and women sleeping around the fireplace.

Shoes and small clothes

clothes and shoes and, for choosing for everyone the more adapted one.

The children and the mothers wait serious and in order, one after the other without haste and greed.

Their eyes are full of great dignity and gratitude…

One after the other…

It’s really exciting and touching to be here… we would want that those boxes of shoes and clothes would never finish…

One after the other we visit several villages: all equal and all different at the same time.

In everyone we have the same ritual, the same row of mothers and children, the same eyes, the same calm, the same resignation, the same patience…

Back to Windhoek

The next day we leave for Windhoek, after the dawn and after a warm extended good-bye to Melitta and her children. We travel over again the nearly 900 km that separate us from the city, almost incredulous of what we have lived…

It is not the first time we face experiences like this, in about ten hours we passed from the bushmen villages to the sequins of the city.. And in spite of everything every time it seems us that something is ‘out of tune’ in all this…

In our Four by Four we talk of what we have seen, about the villages, the rag dressed kids, the kilometres to cover in order to have water… We begin to think to a ‘donkey-cart’ for the transport of the water, specifically designed… that must last in the time, we try to draw something…
But this is an other history… probably the next one…

A special thanks for this first spark:
> THANKS to Gianfranco, Wilma & Virginia for the direct support
> THANKS to Bartolucci Company from Borgo Massano (Italy) for the support and “PINOCCHIO”
> THANKS to Armando
> THANKS to all the ASSOCIATES who have joined, with great enthusiasm, sometimes unexpected, our Association.

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