Bethlehem and the elderly women of the Holy Land: a very special birthday

Giacomo Pizzi28 September 2011

Anna, a volunteer in Bethlehem for ATS pro Terra Sancta, recounts for us her birthday party, which she decided to celebrate together with the elderly women of the Antonian Charitable Society, a rest home for the elderly where she is offering her services.

“The 24th of September 2011 was not only my birthday, but also the anniversary of my arrival here in Bethlehem. In fact, it was exactly one year ago that I began my service as a volunteer for ATS pro Terra Sancta with those who have now become “my” dear old ladies, residents in the rest home of the Antonian Charitable Society in Bethlehem.

When you spend a lot of time abroad and even more when it is in a country whose culture and traditions are so different from those of your own country, you need to find a place and people with whom you can feel at home. It was for this reason that I decided that there could be no better way to celebrate my 26th birthday than in the company of these elderly ladies and the sisters who during this year, for better or for worse, have become my family here.

So it was with the help of other friendly volunteers, some of them even coming from Jerusalem, that we organized a party in grand style, with lots of birthday hats, horns, balloons and masks!

It might seem obvious to say but it is indeed the case: the greatest gift was to see how happy the old ladies were to see us there with them, these 20 youngsters who danced and sung with them, and for them.

Being a volunteer is not always easy, especially in a climate of tension such as that which these people are passing through at this time. It nevertheless always surprises me to have to admit that here in the Holy Land everything that happens to you, even the simplest thing like a birthday party, can fill your heart with happiness, for in a certain manner everything that I seek to do for others in the end winds up being done for me.”

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