Week 10 in Italy provided me with one of my favorite experiences we have had abroad. On Tuesday, we loaded up the buses and headed to Rome for the day. We started off at an organization called Caritas. Caritas is an organization started by the Catholic church that helps the impoverished by providing meal and support for them through various services. One of their main purposes is to inspire Christians “to place charity as the central motive of the Church’s life, and mission.” We were given a brief overview of their system by one of the head coordinators, then we all prayed together with the rest of the volunteers and staff before the lunch guests arrived. Sharing a moment of prayer in another language, but in unity, is always such a moving moment for me. It gives me chills that regardless of language barriers and different cultures we can all praise one God and have him understand fully. After the prayer, we were assigned our stations and started setting up. I was assigned to the milk station to pour cups of milk for them and hand out cups for water. All at once, the guests started pouring in for their lunch. It was so special to get to serve them and see the excitement on their faces when receiving this delicious, hot meal. One would think that serving milk would be one of the easiest tasks, however it quickly proved to be a minor challenge when a language barrier Is included. We were instructed to hand out either one cup of milk or an empty cup for water to each guest. They were not allowed to have both. Many of the guests were upset about this, but we didn’t know how to explain to them in Italian why they couldn’t have both. We quickly figured out a way to overcome this challenge by learning small Italian phrases to explain or by recruiting help from some of the staff or regular volunteers. After 4 hours and over 450 guests served, it was by far one of my favorite experiences I’ve had during class days.
After cleaning up, we headed to the World Food Programme headquarters. We went through the intensive security required for a UN organization and headed to one of their meeting rooms to learn about what WFP is all about. We were greeted and taken care of by the nicest men that work at WFP. They started the presentation with a video that played ‘Ain’t No Mountain High Enough’ that highlights all their biggest accomplishments. It also symbolizes that they have conquered so much, and continue to serve so many different countries. WFP helps feed over 80 million people a year in around 80 countries. They shared with us their goal from 2015-2030 to completely end world hunger. WFP operates through 5,000 trucks, 20 ships, and 92 planes working daily throughout the different countries they serve. They are an incredible organization, and I loved getting to learn more about it in their headquarters. We have learned so much about the history and ancient civilization of Rome, but it was so refreshing and fascinating to get to have two experiences that were about modern day issues.
The lobby of WFP that provides guests with some of the main statistics