An Extract of Rose’s Speech; At the Origin of Gratuitousness, Florence Italy

Rose Busingye was in Florence, Italy for the event At the Origin of gratuitousness, in which she was handed keys to the city. This is an extract of the speech she made at the event which occurred on 1/12/18;

What is at stake is man! Always, when it comes to a human being, we must start with themselves. In the beginning, I thought this was selfishness, but it is true that we cannot give what we do not have. Who am I and who is this man I have to take care of? It is not enough to do an investigation on existence, even an instinctive reaction is not enough because it does not make it out of the Confusion that characterizes our days, does not bring out the “I”, its face. The analysis is never enough. Apparently, man can seem to be nothing in front of his problems, illness, poverty and even death.

Let me quote a great Italian poet, Giacomo Leopardi:

«Niuna cosa maggiormente dimostra la grandezza e la potenza dell’umano intelletto, né l’alte‘zza e nobilta dell’uomo, che il poter l’uomo conoscere e interamente comprendere e fortemente sentire la sua piccolezza. Quando egli, considerando la pluralita de’ mondi, si sente essere infinitesima parte di un globo ch’e minima parte d’uno degli infiniti sistemi che compongono il mondo, e in questa considerazione stupisce della sua piccolezza, e profondamente sentendola e intentamente riguardandola, si confonde quasi col nulla, e perde quasi se stesso nel pensiero della immensita delle cose, e si trova come smarrito nella vastita incomprensibile dell’esistenza; allora con questo atto e con questo pensiero egli da Ia maggior prova possibile della sua nobilta, della forza e della immensa capacita della sua mente, la quale rinchiusa in si piccolo e menomo essere, e potuta pervenire a conoscere e intender cose tanto superiori alla natura di lui, e puo ‘abbracciare e contener col pensiero questa immensita medesima della esistenza e delle cose».

“Niente mostra di piu la grandezza, il potere dell’intelletto umano, I’altezza e la nobilta dell’uomo, della capacita che egli ha di percepire e capire la sua piccolezza; quando considera la pluralita dei mondi, sente se stesso come parte infinitesimale del globo, percependo questo profondamente confonde se stesso con il nulla e quasi perde se stesso nel pensiero dell’immensita delle cose, si trova quasi perso nell’incomprensibile vastita dell’esistenza.”

Nothing more demonstrates the greatness and power of the human intellect, nor the highness and nobility of man, that man can know and fully understand and strongly feel its smallness. When he considers the plurality of the worlds he feels himself to be infinitesimal part of a globe that is minimal part of one of the infinite systems that make up the world, and in this consideration amazes of its smallness, and deeply feeling it and intently considering it, it is almost confused with nothing, and almost loses itself in thought of the immensity of things, and finds itself lost in the incomprehensible vastness of existence; then with this act and with this thought he gives as much proof as possible of his nobility, of the strength and immense capacity of his mind, which is locked up in a small and small way to be able to come to know and understand things so much superior to his nature, and can embrace and contain with thought this immensity of existence and of things “.

Nothing shows more the greatness, the power of the human intellect, the height and nobility of man, of the capacity he has to perceive and understand his smallness; when considering the plurality of gods worlds, feels itself as an infinitesimal part of the globe, perceiving this deeply he confuses himself with nothingness and almost loses himself in the thought of the immensity of things, yes he finds almost lost in the incomprehensible vastness of existence.

What is the nature of the human person? And what makes him happy?

I began to work enthusiastically, willing to help, if possible also to heal everyone that I met. I work with HIV/AIDS patients, their orphans and their families in poor neighborhoods of the city of Kampala, the capital of Uganda. I equipped myself with all the knowledge I could and the tools I had at layout. I thought this was enough but what seemed obvious was not; for example, the cards to mark when taking TB (Tuberculosis) drugs or the retroviral drugs came to compile very well, but the tablets ended up in the trash! The same for food: it was sold to buy alcohol or other things. The boys I sent to school preferred to stay in the streets rummaging through the garbage to find things to sell. Those who said they were my friends, even worse, made me suffer more, so much so that, to a certain point I wanted to escape on a deserted island with some animals but without men. Every day I saw people dying or people who disappointed me, but what I had studied and designed it was not like that. I went into crisis!

My teacher “fished me”, educated me and taught me what I was missing: who is man and who I am. Man is a relationship through which he screams of being someone. Don Giussani has revealed to me who I am and the man who I have to take care of! He established the content and method of my work: to communicate to everyone the greatness, the value and the dignity of every single person.

In this way, we started the Meeting Point International. First, it was called Meeting Point Kampala, but then we wanted to call it “International” to show that the heart of man is international, and the same for everyone and that each person must be watched in its entirety. We are involved in an adventure with HIV/AIDS patients, orphans, the poor, the mad etc, and we want to make them understand that they are not defined by the situation in which they live, but that they are greater than whatever their condition is.

Our work is based on education at all levels, because we consider education as the privileged way of discovering oneself. The method we use helps us not to solve the situation, but to go beyond and, as Fr. Giussani teaches, to look for correspondence between the reality and self-awareness, allowing the discovery of the unitary hypothesis that explains everything.

Why this method?

I began to live and work when someone told me “you are mine.” Don Giussani had not known me; it was evident that I was nothing, but I felt wanted and desired. It was as if his gaze told me, “I want to be with you, you have an infinite value”.

From this gaze everything was born, I discovered that I was not defined by my limits and my faults. From this gaze, I began to sense a meaning for my life. It is as if a light had enlightened everything, I discovered the truth of my existence and from here began an attraction, a tenderness for my life and that of others.

I began to live and work when I was able to respond concretely to the question “who am I”, this question has been answered in precise faces that have a name and a surname; so I became free. Paradoxically I became free belonging, that is, having a link. When you are free you can finally face the whole reality without fearing it, you can face everything because you know who you are! And whoever is free does not demand any more from others because he/she already has everything.

I felt free, great and the protagonist of reality because Fr. Giussani revealed to me who I am (example; meeting with Don Giussani, he said that if I were the only man on earth, God would have come all the same. Then he immediately stopped and said “No! He came for you because God does not come on earth for a group of men, before God every man is unique as an only child! He came for you, died for you, so that your nothingness is not lost “). Then a friend, Pope Benedict, in “Deus Caritas est” spoke of the love of God as a “divine madness“.

This has messed up my life, what I thought of myself and others, of eating and drinking, of the sleeping and waking up, crying or laughing; everything has gained a density, a value that you cannot imagine. Don Giussani, revealed to me that God has done for me more than what was necessary, that he gave Himself to me, a gift of total self.

Charity in its essence is this! God comes out of himself, divine madness! You act in a certain way because inside your humanity there is this origin that vibrates in your bowels. If there isn’t this charity in the instant, none of us here present or out of here can exist. He is given to us because we are happy and fulfilled.

What is coming up in my work is the truth of the value of the person. In this way, I can offer a clear and identified friendship to which everyone can belong. The “I” that is aware of belonging to this friendship becomes a protagonist, the lord of the reality not because he owns it, but because he discovers that the One making the reality is also making him.

This is why I chose as a symbol of MPI the picture of Matisse’s Icarus: I wanted that everyone could look at the red heart. The small dot which seems nothing, yet instead gives meaning to the whole painting! A man who looks like nothing, with all his problems, miserableness, poverty, death to him every day, is great. My “I” is a dot, a grain, (Don Giussani called me a black dot!) a breath that fails to be herself without belonging. Without belonging, the “I” grabs here and there. It clings to what happens, but this over time, leaves bitterness around in the mouth, as Carron says.

I saw the others happen again to me. For example, Lucy, one woman who suffered all sorts of violence, her body and physique had been disfigured by the rebels. She found herself when I told her, “you’re not the horror that happened to you, you’re an infinite value that comes from God who makes you be and who loves you!” Today she says that the only pain she has is of those she killed but can’t go to kneel down before them to apologize.

We use everything, music, and dances of every culture, trips together to valleys and hills, Lakes and rivers, football etc. We work in groups, to introduce people to the meaning of everything that surrounds them and this leads to a wonderful burst of discovery that becomes an educational chain.

This shows that it’s not enough to do projects, but its necessary the presence of a person who loves and that helps to give the true meaning to the standards and the indicators. Otherwise one suffocates while trying to measure or track progress in the projects.

Note: Not reviewed by the author.

 

Grant from Solidarity Charitable Trust

Meeting Point International (MPI) is currently implementing a project entitled “Improve the quality of life of the people, mainly women and youths of the slums and suburban areas of Kampala, Uganda.”

 

The funds of this project were received from Solidarity Charitable Trust and are being used to strengthen two cultural centers in Kampala’s slums of Naguru and Kireka. MPI will also build another center at its headquarters in Kitintale. In this way, adults of MPI, their children and the children of the Welcoming House will have a safe environment where their awareness on the importance of education and culture will be facilitated as well as the development of their personality and self-awareness. Beneficiaries of the project are the clients of MPI which includes; 1027 vulnerable children including 56 Orphans living in Welcoming House and 2190 Adults of which 950 are taking anti-retroviral drugs.

Adult Literacy sessions will be organized for adults so that they can learn how to express themselves properly and freely in the community; the youth groups like New Hope Dance Project Uganda will use these centers especially in Kireka and Naguru for activities like fitness sessions and dancing. Other youths will also access the library to do homework and reading. Various other activities will be organized such as training of the members of the saving groups; the adults and youth will participate in outreach activities such as trips to help them discover each other in a context of beauty and relaxation which is different from the daily conditions in the slums. There will be weekly workshops for example music, dance, and drama, in which adults and youth talk about their lives, express their feelings and need to be together.

 

Sports with Real Madrid Foundation

This is the second year (2018) in which Luigi Giussani High School and Meeting Point International have been funded by Real Madrid Foundation through Cesal, for a sports program at the school premises, where the 185 students between the ages of 13-17 years have had football training sessions and throughout the whole the whole year. The students have been practicing dribbling, shooting, goal keeping, throwing in, positioning, ball controlling, passing, attacking and defending with the sports coaches.

The program has been an opportunity to improve life skills of the students through learning how to play the fair game along with all its rules, accepting defeat after a loss in the football game and being aware of one’s limitation in such a way that one can work ways to improve it both individually and collectively in the team.

The students eventually applied their skills when they played a number of games against their teachers as well as themselves. They also played football on the sports day which occurred in March.

 

 

Welcoming House Rehabilitation

Meeting point international always ensures that the children of the welcoming house live in a beautiful and conducive environment where they can grow up happy and healthy.

Meeting Point International renovated Welcoming House thanks to the help received from AVSI – Assiteca and Support International. Renovation works of bed, chairs, tables, windows, kitchen, stairs, etc. has been ongoing throughout the year and the house structure has been repaired and improved both internally and externally. New structures have been set up, for example, the shed where children can now play and study.

We share some images from the welcoming house showing the renovations;

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At the Origin of Gratuity

Odong Arnold Kato is a student of Makerere University Business School, studying Business Administration, he was with Rose Busingye (Director of Meeting Point International) for the event ”At the origin of Gratuitousness.” He shared his experience on charity and gratuitousness. We shared with you his story;

-Okello Marvin 13.12.18

Good morning, am very happy to be here to talk about gratuitousness, because in Uganda where I come from, there are a lot of people who need help and every time am moving on the streets I hand over a coin to the beggars, so giving is a challenge that I have to face every day and I have to give every day even when I don’t have. One time a friend of mine from a catholic church invited me for a charity, I was very excited about it. I collected some little money, some old clothes, so we set off to go and visit the orphanage.

When we arrived, I jumped out of the car very fast, I had a lot of sweets in my hands that I wanted to share with the children. When I reached my hand out to give the children, I discovered that they had no hands to pick the sweets. The children where crippled and my friend who had invited me had not told me this. In this moment, I felt very sad and very weak, I was giving and the child was trying to reach out for what I was giving but they could not hold it. This is the moment that I realized that it is not I who gives. At some point I began to wish that I could give these children hands so that they could pick what I was giving but I couldn’t. After that we sang a song, and they were singing “Jesus loves me”, most of them had Down’s syndrome, they were very crippled and they were singing that Jesus loves me, this was the changing moment of my life.

 

In that moment I realized that the same sympathy that I was having for these kids, is the same sympathy and pity that Christ has for me every moment. And I came to realize that charity is not giving, because I have nothing to give, but charity is a contribution to the work of God, it is God who gives. In this moment when I was giving the sweets, it felt useless because many times when you give, you expect a response but when I was giving over the gifts, they could not talk, could not smile, most of them had down’s syndrome, so for me gratuitousness is way of serving God, is a way of helping others discover that they are preferred by God.

Another experience I encountered when I was walking back from school going home and I find a very old woman, she came to me and asked me for some money, at that moment, I had a few coins and I gave her. I was very happy, I went back home happy that I had responded to this woman’s needs. However, they next day when I was from school, I found her waiting for me again and she was still asking for more and the following days the same thing kept on happening, the whole week, I was seeing her. In the moment I was saying, “Why can’t his woman get satisfied with what I give her?” So for me I realize that through gratuitousness, Christ is always provoking me that it is not you who gives, that I am just a tool, that I am choosing you to do my work. So that’s all that I wanted to share with you. That it’s not all about giving but it’s all about contributing, because it is God who gives. Even what we think we are giving, we are also given. Thank you very much.

Odong Arnold Kato