EVS experience: learning through hiking !

di Helene Viel, volontaria nell’ambito del progetto Youthquake

I did a 2 days long trek in central Italy to learn more about the areas affected by the 2016 earthquakes.

Part of my missions as an Evs volunteer in Italy is to write a report of local associations’ initiatives to help victims of the 2016 earthquake in the Rieti province.

In order to learn more more about the areas of central Italy affected by earthquakes, my fellow EVS partner and I had the opportunity to join Peter Lerner, for a 2 days long trek near Amatrice. 

Peter Lerner created the project «  Walk with Peter », an ongoing project to raise money for the areas of central Italy affected by the 2016 earthquakes and to document the aftermath of those earthquakes.

It was an amazing experience and I learned so much.

This is what happened during those incredible few days!

First day
We started our walk in Amatrice, a town where nearly 300 people died during the August 24th 2016 earthquake. Even if it was my second time in Amatrice, it struck me to see the devastated situation this town is still in: nearly 2 years after the earthquake, many houses are still down and bricks and victims’ belongings are still in the streets.

We then met with people from the organisation Caritas, where Peter Lerner will organise an event in August to raise awareness about the situation in Amatrice. It was very nice to see people from Caritas we had already met back when we started our project in March.

From Amatrice we walked to Somati, a village located 7 kilometres North of Amatrice, where no one leaves anymore. We met with a man whose bakery had been completely destroyed during the earthquake.  He told us about the struggle of getting financial help to open a new business.

We spent the night camping in Macchie Piane, above Amatrice. The location was simply amazing. We attempted to build a fire, but soon had to face the fact that we were not those mountains people we thought we were.

Second day
We left very early to walk to the top of Pizzo di Sevo (2419m), one of the highest mountains in Lazio.

This walk was challenging and intense but so worth it.

After nearly 5 hours of walking we reached the top of Pizzo di Sevo. The view was simply one of the most beautiful view I had ever seen.

We spend our afternoon coming down the mountain amazed by the wonderful landscapes surrounding us.

After cheating a little bit by hitch hiking with 2 Italian people, we reached the village of Sant’Angelo and met Gabriella, a farmer involved in the AIPS structure (Association Insieme per Sant’Angelo).

Mario, the president of the structure, was kind enough to let us sleep there but was in Rome at the moment, so Gabriella showed us around and explained us the situation of this beautiful village: out of 20 people living there, 8 were killed during the earthquake. Just like in Amarice and Somati many houses are still down, and bricks can still fell from the rooftops of some houses which of course made the situation very dangerous for the habitants.

Last day

Gabriella invited us to have breakfast at her house. Even if her house was not destroyed by the earthquake, she cannot sleep there because of safety reasons. Like everyone in Sant’Angelo she has a temporary house but is lucky enough to be able to still have her old house, where she often goes during the day.

Then, it was with great delight (maybe a little too much on my part) that we got to see Gabriella’s farm.

We retuned where Peter had to finalise some meetings for his coming event in August.

Just like that, 2 days had gone by. They were physically and emotionally intense. I can say that I learned so much.

I want to thank Peter Lerner for his patience during this walk and for sharing his passion of the mountains with us.

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