09.11.2009

We left Abomey around 8am, loaded the car and went to have a coffee with Suor Pancrazia (a nun in the centre). We all were not feeling so great as a result of a very doggy dinner the night before. Some of us were sick, some other did not have a good night sleep.

I joined Letizia and Elisabetta to the Royal Palace where we could buy some local stuff as presents (I bought some kitchen cloths and pictures).

We got to Lokossa @12pm and after having checked the hotel, we unloaded the car and put our stuff in the rooms.

We had something to eat in the same place and headed to a school with a couple that joined us in the hotel. We were going to see Fiore…

She is a little girl adopted by Anna and Alessandro that did not yet manage to take her  to Italy with them.

The story of the Association originates from Anna and Alessandro that in 2000 lost their only son with a brain tumour. Their commitment in helping other children was their own way to continue to love Francesco, their son.

At the school we met Fiore and the son of the couple taking care of her. It was a ‘questionable couple’ from what I could see in the short time of interaction with them. He was an old Italian man that once retired, moved to Benin and managed to marry a 25years younger African lady. I would not have made any assumptions from it if I did not see them arguing all time and communicating everything but love. The only time he talked to his kid was to ask for a kiss as father obtaining a very ‘indifferent’ response from him. The sad is that these kids have the chance to have a father and a mother taking care of them compared to the majority that don’t. Nevertheless this seems yet not to be sufficient to be loved.

We went to their house for a coffee….so different from the local houses-a proper Italian style house with a fully furnished kitchen and a bathroom!! My conclusion was confirming that money do not equal love and/or happiness.

We left @3.30pm heading to a rehabilitation centre for kids in wheelchairs, kids with other problems to legs and arms.

The responsible for the centre was a sweet lovely couple: while he was building artificial legs and arms and all sort of prosthesis, she was taking care of the physiotherapy to rehabilitate the kids.

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Cannot even try to put in words what I have witnessed today. The conditions of these kids were indescribable. Dirt, smell, rubbish everywhere, chickens in the rooms with the kids in bed. Poverty, desperation and yet LOVE and JOY. 

“If I love you, I show you I love you every day. Little things, big things.”

Dwayne Johnson

A very nice scenery was instead a group of volunteers playing with the smaller kids, teaching and drawing with the older ones. Kids were unable to move and were lying on the floor next to each other.

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After playing with the kids for a while, we were waiting for Amandine, a little girl that was run over by a car because she crossed the road when the mum had told her to. She is now permanently damaged and can only move with a special bicycle that allows her to go to school.

Amandine was coming back from school and we saw her approaching us from far, pushing her bicycle by hand….

This is one of many images that will stay with me after the trip, together with many others….

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