Holidays in Benin City by Luciana Pucciarmati

When I was a child and went to school I started to study geography.  In my childish way I thought that Italy was so far away from all the other different parts of the world. Yet now I am sitting on an aeroplane and am going to Lagos in Nigeria.  From Lagos I shall take another plane to Benin City. I have a mission: to go to the nearly completed community founded by Pastor Julius Agoh. The community included a church, an orphanage and a home for widows and unmarried mothers.  It is hoping to buy a lot of ground close to the church and to build a kindergarten, a primary school and a middle school. Benin City is an ancient manifold city, where many different cultures and ethnicities cohabit.  This is the rainy season, and some flooding of unpaved roads takes place all around the city. Now I find myself on the outskirts of the city and I see poor people putting together food and drinks and serving them on the street corners.  They call them “restaurants”. Everybody sells something to get by. The crippled and handicapped sit on the city streets and beg.  Every morning children from the age of seven put what they have gathered from the forest into a basket.   

  They carry these on their heads to sell in the market.  Most of them survive by scraping up Naira in this way. As well as these sights, I was particularly touched by my visits to some orphanages. My first impression of these buildings was how terrible their conditions were.  Children are physically and emotionally abandoned.  I was heart broken.  

I did not know whether to run away or stay and cry with those little angels.  It was a trial for my emotions. I thanked God that Rock of Fire’s non-profit making international humanitarian organisation is building an orphanage in Benin City to house and sustain many of these children.

Now I am really looking forward to returning to Africa to see and help them.

Luciana Pucciarmati.

30 September 2010