Sam, ACT volunteer in Palermo, Italy

25 years old from Liverpool, United Kingdom

 

“Palermo is uniquely gritting and enchanting, and it has issues, yet in true Palermitan style it’s tackling them with determined community action”

 

This began with a week-long training program including memorable ice-breakers, in depth discussions and an intense role play of the reception in Italy today. These included tours of Palermo and the centres we’d be working in: Il Giardino Madre Teresa (a kindergarten), Il Gabbiano (a homing centre for unaccompanied minors) and Centre Astali (an extensive centre providing numerous free services from breakfast to legal aid)

Inspired by this we’ve begun to plan our projects and join existing ones. On Fridays I help Giorgio to teach basketball to young children, this week we regenerated a local garden, every Wednesday I teach a free English class to varying students both migrants and Italians.

 

Through our activities in the last month I’ve began to feel more comfortable in each centre and making friends seems easy in Palermo, there’s always lots of smiles and invitations in this city despite the obvious language barriers. But we overcome these challenges by immersing ourselves in Palermo’s many events such as Art Migrante, an informal open evening exploring inclusion through art and a weekend long sporting event that aims to bring cultures together through basketball, football and volleyball.

Palermo is uniquely gritting and enchanting, and it has its fair share of issues, yet in true Palermitan style it is tackling them with determined community action. Of course, its winding streets can make you feel lost but it’s a very open city and the more you participate the more Palermo becomes home.

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