English Methodists Lucy Boddington and Charlotte Humbly are volunteering this summer with the Mediterranean Hope charity in the town of Scicli on the island of Sicily. The charity was set up in response to the growing number of people making the sea crossing in to Italy.
The students explain about the House of Cultures Project in which they are working:
This is a safe place, set up in December 2014, offering hospitality to refugees in a vulnerable situation, such as young mothers, pregnant women and unaccompanied minors. As well as education, social work and health care offered in the house, culture is celebrated with inter-cultural and integration programmes to encourage Italian citizens and guests at the house to adopt a culture of integration. The House of Cultures is involved with and supported by the local Methodist Church.
Charlotte and Lucy are working in a house for boys aged 14-17, playing games, teaching English and exploring the many different cultures staying in the centre.
The boys and other volunteers we are working with are all from different backgrounds and we are away from our own country and homes yet God can still use us to show his love to all we meet, regardless of a language barrier or cultural differences.
In their latest blog post they observe:
While it can be hard to learn about one another’s backgrounds with barriers like having little language in common, with respecting sensitive issues and understandable reluctance to talk about some topics, or with the general challenges of establishing trusting relationships, the glimpses that emerge naturally through becoming friends can teach all of us so much. This week has been a reminder to me of the importance of listening and learning together and of the richness that this can bring.
You can keep up to date with Charlotte and Lucy’s work by reading their blog.
Photos: Med Hope Blog