Respect for oneself and for others, mutual help, sharing, transmission of values, waiting, sacrifice: this means living in community. If you add to all this the quiet splendor, the unspoiled nature of Elba, the community takes shape The Mammoletta, which since 2009 has been a beacon of hope for many young people on the island. Boys and girls “victims” of a careless outside world, where selfishness very often reigns supreme and finding someone who extends his hand to you becomes almost impossible. Here, however, there are many hands to help. Like those of the two founders Martha and Stanislaus. By Don Antonio Mazzi. Educators who day by day follow and educate these young people for life.
“The community must be an open place, where one feels good and the dynamics are positive, not imposing: where there is imposition there is battle. This is a place of ease and not of discomfort”, Stanislao points out.
A story within stories
Marta and Stani’s existence is dedicated to others. Their history starts in the 70s, feeds on the “revolutionary” ideas and values that in those years push many young people to an active intervention. They start with the peaceful occupation of uncultivated lands, the recovery and establishment of a commune in Barberino (Florence), and then, after years of effort, arriving in Elba in 1978. To rest a bit: “But we didn’t rest at all – Stanislao enthuses – we took refuge in the cove of Marciana Marina, we pitched tents which in a short time were filled with young people who needed us”.
And then the chance meeting with Don Antonio Mazzi which in 1990 leads to the creation of the Exodus group. Today, there are about thirty communities scattered throughout the world, open communities that seek constant contact, a network, with the outside world. Small realities, of 15-20 people, because the relationship must be direct, deep and based on mutual trust.
Everyone’s story is different and marked by suffering, shortcomings. Here, they intertwine to form the “engine” that allows the two founders to continue their “mission”. For 50 years now, together, they have been following this path which enriches, increasingly strengthens their bond, united in an embrace of hope towards the creation of a better future.
“Kids enter the community to find a family, they are often abandoned, even adopted children, they are tired of this ‘suicide’ caused by addictions. But the main addiction they suffer from is that of a desperate search for relationships, not substances,” adds Stani.
The search for one’s own path
At the Violet the days are marked by the slow pace and silence typical of country life. The boys are dedicated to the care of what they now call “home” and the garden.
But there is also much more: sport, sailing, the common room where you can share a tea during the winter evenings or Saturday pizza made with their hands. The invitation to participate is always there because the sharing is everything.
“The boys, aged between 14 and 22 years, they are here to change course and we try to accompany them, holding their hands. Each of them is different and has its own potential and peculiarities”, says Stani, for this reason they follow an individual growth path by going to school and cultivating their passions. Music, for example, represents an essential element for the path of many. How Lorenzo that thanks toperfect pitch he has always played the piano, but here, for the first time, he has the concrete possibility of studying and learning about notes and scores. Interest similar to that of another teenager “who entered the community 15/20 years ago after seven years of psychiatry and now he is an entrepreneur, a great music professional. He stayed with us for only one year, he found a key: heart, belly and head and made the leap, ”Stani recalls.
To make the “notes” of these guys resonate more, a amphitheater – “The place of great confessions”, as Stani defines it – thanks to the contribution of Giorgio Faletti. A space surrounded by greenery, among the surrounding trees The Mammoletta, one of a kind. In which there is theater, mass, meetings with schools.
Another passion that overwhelms many of the young people is sailing, they see it as a prospect for the future. So it was for Valerius: “He really liked going to sea, today he is official on the Costa Concordia“.
“The value of a cabbage is exactly the same value as a journey, a trip to the sea, going to school. It’s not what you do but how and with what awareness you do it. The sacrifice, the care, the continuity”. Stani’s words convey all of his dedication to helping them find their way back with constancy and commitment. This has now become a life purpose for him and Marta.
The voices of hope
The voices, the faces of these young people convey a lot: the suffering experienced but also a lot of hope for the future. Hundreds have passed through here. I’m Amira, Simone, Lapo, Andy from America, Lorenzo And Stephen from Milan and many many others.
“This place is giving me so much. In just 3 months I am a totally different person. I’m learning to live with myself, the real one. It’s a rebirth. The path goes beyond drug addiction, it becomes a learning respect for oneself and for others, for work, for what surrounds you – he says Amira (real name), 16 years old – slowly you discover passions that make you return your self-confidence, that give you something to go on, even outside “.
“This is a community unlike many others. In some you follow your path in a fairly technical way: you take care of some aspects but leave out many others. There is love here, Marta and Stani teach us to put passion into what we do – he says Lorenzo, 21 years -. Even if it is tiring, I think that when I finish this path I will be a person with a thousand possibilities ”.
“We are not the different ones who have made mistakes in life. It is this society that leads us to meet our emotions, which exploits them against us. We should reflect on why we have reached this point and above all on the fact that many do not realize it. Here we are interested, we mirror each other, which is very difficult to happen outside. Let’s give each other a hand, not only for those who have problems or inconveniences, but completely “, he concludes Simon.
Many activities like this, centered around the social work, they are supported by volunteering but also by subsidies that represent a sort of patronage. “If this only means charity, the world will never change. These gestures solve momentary problems but then they can be ends in themselves. If it becomes solidarity then the world begins to change ”. Stani’s invitation is therefore to come “to know the realities, the boys. Touch their stories, their path, what this place transmits. Only in this way can it be create a relationship of mutual help and true solidarity is born “.