A room with a view….
I live on the 4th floor of a student hall in Milan. Out of my window I can see the backyard of a church with a football field. The area is managed by the church itself as a way of providing facilities for local people to gather. There're people playing almost every evening: kids, teenagers, grown-ups, with families and friends watching the game and supporting the players. There're also regular sport classes for disabled people and occasionally festivals with music, food stalls etc.
I like seeing all this. It gives me the idea that there's a real local community here despite the fact this is still Milan, a city with about 1,300,000 inhabitants (foreigners account for about 16% of this figure). It's a big change for me, used as I was to Leamington Spa with its 45,000 dwellers.
However, on the left side of the football field, behind a wall, the picture changes. There's in fact the rehab centre for drug-addicts and at the back of it a centre run by nuns providing hospitality for teenage mothers and women experiencing difficult situations. From my room I can see them, with their kids among endless lines of clothes hung to dry outside.
The nuns run also a daily canteen for the homeless and poor. Weekly I can also see these people gathering in the central yard to get used clothes donated by more fortunate people. It looks a bit like a market with clothes displayed on tables but people have not money to buy....
It's a sad viewing but it really reminds me not to complaing about those things in my life which are not really as I'd like them to be.