Carla: Nicosia July 2020
I decided to go to Cyprus and support the cause of immigration and refugees because I am an immigrant myself.
I have been what I call a lucky immigrant to France, to the UK and to Spain. Thanks to a very low probability of statistical coincidences, I happened to be born in Europe, in a lucky, peaceful, and rich side of the world. This gave me the chance to hold a passport with which I can easily travel through many different countries.
I freely chose to leave my country, Italy, for a better opportunity abroad. But what if, for the same very low probability of statistical coincidences, I had been born in poor, war-strained, politically unstable country whose passport holders are not welcomed in many countries?
The choice to leave my country of origin in this case would not have been free, but I would have been forced to flee away in search of a better life, a life with dignity. This made me want to do something for those who were less lucky than me.
Going there was eye opening and enriching. Hearing the stories of people who were looking to flee disastrous situations for better lives was intense. Intense was as well looking at their eyes where sorrow could be seen. However, no matter sorrow they had in their eyes a big smile was always on their face. In Europe they had conquered dignity.
While volunteering in Cyprus, I learnt that the most important was not what I was doing but the attitude. I needed to keep flexible to support the constantly changing needs of the centre. Among others, I cooked for a charity dinner, I organised activities for children and I put in place a fun fair for toys to be given to children. I vividly keep with me that feeling of being truly useful to someone else, and that is the best memory from my volunteering experience.
I could never suggest more to go volunteering in Cyprus.