Work camp for young people – Barcelona 2011

It is 8.30 a.m. and we are getting ready to go out. The metro takes us from the outskirts where we are located to the heart of Barcelona where poverty and wealth are to be found, side by side. Along the walls of the church of St Augustine there is already a long queue of people waiting. They are people "in transit", foreigners without documents or money, women and men who have been left unprotected because of the economic crisis. They are all waiting for a plate of food and some foodstuffs to help them through the day. 

We young people who are participating in the work camp have come to this social dining hall to help in whatever way is needed: setting the table, washing the dishes, serving the meals and, above all, welcoming people and relating to them, with respect and sensitivity. 
 
The other half of the group has stayed in our neighbourhood of Ciudad Meridiana-Torrebaró helping out in the Day Centre for juveniles run by Caritas where a Little Sister from the community works. Outings to the beach or the swimming pool, staging a gymkhana or "Olympics" or handcraft workshops – these are the means we are going to use to come closer to the deprived life of these girls and boys whose families are impoverished. 
 
In the group we combined these actions of solidarity actions with spaces for prayer, encounter, discussion, sharing and celebrating. 
 
We began by getting to know something of the history of the area where we are through the testimony of two women, neighbours, who have a long tradition of struggle. Gradually we have been entering into contact with different persons and projects which, starting with the public schools, the Community Plan, the Parish and other associations, are trying to transform the reality of failure for children in school, to procure entry into work for deprived youth, and to bring about harmonious relations between different nationalities in the locality. 
 
In the group, using different methods, we put in common our personal history, our commitments, our fears and our dreams. 
 
Each day, or night, we see that we have a "green" space, a time when we let all that we have been living, feeling and dialoguing about resonate in us. These are special times when we can let ourselves be accompanied by the Gospel of compassion and acts of commitment. 
 
Through silence, personal work and sharing in the group we have approached the study of the Gospel from the hand of the Good Samaritan and the Personal Project of Christian Life as means of journeying with the life that is growing. 
 
Those nine days were filled with persons who give the witness of life offered in the service of a possible new world – we would say the Reign. We would like to express our gratitude to all of them. 
 
To these young people – who had come to the work camp from places as far away as the Basque country and Andalusia – we also found the time to show the Gothic, maritime, green and forever cosmopolitan Barcelona! 
 
Jordi, Marga, Lucia and the LSA community of Ciutat Meridiana 
18/10/2011 
09/11/2011
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