I returned to my hometown a couple of days ago. I spent the last days alone, isolated at home. Due to Covid 19, I am not allowed to have any personal contact to my loved ones at the moment. This situation is not ideal but it gives me the opportunity to acclimate and reflect on my experience in Naples. I spend my days listening to Italian and Neapolitan Music, reading the fourth book by Elena Ferrante (which I highly recommend to anyone) and eating all the good products I brought with me like crema al pistacchio or watching documentaries about Maradona, the calciatore, who is very present in the streets of Naples.
Due to his recent passing the Stadium of SSC Napoli was renamed after him. His passing shook the whole city. The children in Salam House enjoy music and dancing a lot and many times we would sing the famous „Oh mamma“ song referring to Maradona together. My dearest memories are connected with music and sounds of the city. The first connection to the children and adolescents was build through listening to music together. Because I was not able to speak Italian in the beginning, music gave me the opportunity to communicate without words. The city of Naples is rich in culture, music and history. In general, I consider the sounds and the tempo of the city very unique. No day went by without music blasting from one balcony or the other.
My favorite thing in the morning was to open the window and let in a fresh sea breeze and scraps of conversation or chants from my neighbors. Our flat was situated very central and the possibilities to go ta a variety of markets to buy fresh food was incredible! Food is very important to the people of Naples and I enjoyed the cuisine and of course the best pizza in the world!
The kids loved pizza too and whenever we would enjoy meals together in the Association, I was touched by their behavior and willingness to share things. In general the children were very humble and sweet. Many of them have problems focussing while doing homework though. I myself suffered concentration issues all my life, therefore I tried to help them with sharing my experiences and strategies to relax.
The biggest challenge apart from the language gap was to support children between the ages of four and fourteen parallel. This became easier when a new social worker started working for the association and we created a loose schedule within the team. I definitely learned to appreciate my privileges more. Even though I am from a working class family and never considered myself spoiled, I understand now that my living standard is very high, especially when it comes to access to resources or simply space. The one thing I ultimately missed was a space outside, a garden or a public park or playground for the children to visit.
Because of the pandemic we were inside all the time and could not plan any activity outside. My former international roommates I now consider friends. We enjoyed our time together and learned with and from each other. We shared our personal experiences, especially of what it means to be a young woman in todays world. We plan on visiting each other in the future!
I am very grateful to have made this experience and consider myself lucky because I found friendship and a sense of home, far from home. I will continue to learn Italian and will start an apprenticeship to become a social worker in February.
Napoli è nel mio cuore sempre.
This is a picture of my favorite Pizza Marinara with tomatoes from Vesuvius:
Lisa was sent to Rinascita Sociale Salam House, on our project “Global Change Makers”, financed by the European Solidarity Corps and JUGEND für Europa.