The 10 years of Seve with the family of Luigi Giussani High School (LGHS) and Meeting Point International (MPI)
Story by Lwamaza Isiko Shalifu
Kampala, 23rd January 2023
Our friend Matteo Severgnini (Seve), former Educational Advisor at LGHS in Kampala, recently went back to Italy. Before his departure in early January, MPI’s staff had a meeting with him where he told us about his 10 year experience in Uganda.
We thank Seve for the time he has been with us, accompanying our community in a beautiful journey of educational growth.
Here is how he answered these questions: “Why did you decide to come to Uganda and to stay here for 10 years? And why have you decided to go back to Italy?”
“When I was in High School, I had a problem which was: How to choose my next course at university? I was a smart student, I used to like all the subjects. So which to choose? I was a bit confused. At a certain point, I think that the subject chose me. I found that Philosophy had already chosen me, through the fascination I had for some particular philosophers. So I enrolled and started University.
I studied philosophy for four years. After completing University I had another problem: Now, which job to choose? But, it happened the same as before: staying in University with the young people, I found myself chosen to be a teacher. Even if, when I started studying at university, I was thinking that I would have done everything but teaching! However, life it is not a matter of choosing, but realising you are being chosen every time. Therefore, all you need to do is to SAY YES. So I started teaching in a High School in Bergamo and I was very happy with my work, my students, and my colleagues.
I am part of the memores domini (this means those who are living the memory of God), a laical association founded within the experience of the catholic movement of Communion and Liberation (CL). At a certain point, in 2011, I received an email from the directorate of the memores domini. In this email they were asking for availability of a person to go to work in Uganda, someone who could speak English and who was also somehow knowledgeable in the field of education. While I was reading this, I was shocked and screamed “Oh my God these people are looking for me!” and I remembered that it’s not a matter of choosing, but it’s about being chosen. There I had one option which was, again, to say yes.
I had met Rose (MPI Founder and Executive Director) years back when I was in University. Those days I met the movement of CL and my responsibles used to send me here in Uganda, also paying for my vacations. So my first vacation was here in Uganda in 2001 and that was when I first met Rose. After that first vacation, we kept in touch and when I saw the job vacancy to come to Uganda, Rose came to my mind and I immediately called her. When I told her about this possibility, she told me “God is great!”. So I applied and in less than six months I came here. The yes that you can say is always in front of Someone that has already chosen you. And the question about why and how I managed to stay here is the same: every day you are chosen and you just need to decide by saying yes to a God that is calling you.
When I came here I knew Rose, but I did not know about the women. When I met them I was happy to see them and I loved it when they took me through the story of the origin of the school, of how and why the school was built.
So, I came and I decided to stay for the same reason. This same reason also applies to my yes for going back to Italy. Earlier this year, Davide Prosperi (the president of CL movement), who is a friend of mine, called me and asked me if I was available to work in Italy. I said yes. Again someone chose me, called me. Everyday life is about calling.
Staying in Uganda helped me to grow, because if you are loyal, with time you become happier with the people you are living with. When I came here, I thought I would need to live in the community in order to meet Christ. But then I realised that I needed to belong to Christ in order to live in the community. This helped me to always be available to God’s calling and to realise this belonging every day.”
Seve’s experience teaches us that it is important to know that every day in life we are being chosen by Someone else: we only have to trust and say our YES. Thank you Seve!