“Through Arci’s program and work, I hold the privilege of experiencing the dazzling bipolarity of Catania”

by | Feb 27, 2023 | Attività, Testimonianze di volontari

European Solidarity Corps Volunteer Marit, 22, Belgian

Five months ago I was in Belgium, at my family home, staring at my laptop screen for what felt like hours. As a recent graduate in journalism, I felt completely overwhelmed by the potential a school-free future could hold. And at the same time, it felt as if that potential was also non-existing. Cause what would my life look like if I were to get myself a stable job in communication? Work from 9 to 5? Grab a beer after work? Go home, go to bed and repeat? Would every day be the same as the one before? Would my life from now on be; boring? Before I could go down the path of that potential future, I discovered the European Solidarity Corps and came across the vacancy of Arci Catania. A dream of a position which promised a move away from Belgium towards Catania in exotic Sicily. An adventure I was ready to take on.

This city is a rough diamond that holds chaos in all its facets


It has been a good couple of months now since I made the move across the European continent and the excitement of this adventure has yet to wear off. Working for Arci Catania only adds to this. Through their program and work, I hold the privilege of experiencing the dazzling bipolarity of Catania. This city is a rough diamond that holds chaos in all its facets. On the one hand brilliant when polished, but on the other gloomy and obscure.

I discover the brilliance of the city when I take a morning stroll through the little streets of la fiera. A maze marked by the stinging smell of fresh fish and the competing screams of market vendors. I witness this brilliance when Salvo Castro and Elvira Tomarchio of Comitato Popolare Antico Corso warmly reveal to me the little gems their district holds. Through their work, I got to climb into an ancient tomb, had the pleasure of wandering in a bunker of the Second World War and touched the walls of a bastion dating back to the 16th century.

I discover the brilliant chaos when the honking of the cars disappears when I let myself slide into the sea, embraced by the grey stones of LiCuti. In those moments, the only sounds I hear are greetings from the sun-kissed regulars and the endless lapping of the waves. During the weekends, this brilliant kind of chaos follows me into the night when the streets are filled with exuberant tavern-hopping youth. Then I retire to my balcony to listen to the bangs of fireworks on these ordinary days. And I toast to the moments in which there isn’t really something to celebrate.

Slideshow di Arci Comitato Territoriale di Catania

The brave volunteers of Arci

You see, Catania holds brilliant chaos. Yet, this rough diamond is also plagued by obscure chaos. An impetuous force which causes this city and its inhabitants to tremble and growl. It is witnessed in the brave volunteers of Arci Catania who made me aware of the fact that Catania has a dark side. One that is caused by the invasiveness of the mafia, the malfunctioning and incoherence of the local and national institutions and the poverty that rules Sicily.

This city makes me experience the word need ant the concept purpose


Above all this chaos, Mother Etna watches us. Patiently and kind. A mother strict, but righteous. A synonym for the great silence I find despite the constant noise. A silence that stops the zooming in my brain and causes childish butterflies in my stomach. Because this city makes me experience the word “need” and as a direct consequence, I understand the concept of “purpose”. I finally comprehend the purpose my life holds now. To worship brilliance and make the world’s chaos brilliant for all. I thank the city for its potential, the Etna for the fruits she gave this Island. And above all, I thank Arci Catania for showing me the purpose of a well-executed fight and the possibilities I hold to take part in this battle.