MY SPINNING LIFE
My name is Filippoamato, I am 27 years old and I come from Sicily. Sicily is the most beautiful place on Earth (I swear, I am not saying this because I am Sicilian, or maybe yes, you will never know if you do not go there). In Sicily you can find Etna, the highest active volcano in Europe outside the Caucasus. There are eighteen inhabited islands divided in over five archipelagos, and a couple of minor islands. There are seven sites listed in the UNESCO world heritage list and hundreds of archeological sites (and many other things but I will stop here, otherwise I will fill all the page with the beauties of Sicily only!). Unfortunately, all of this is not enough. Sicily nowadays has many problems related to the difficult economic situation, the depopulation and youth unemployment. This is one of the reasons why me and many of my peers are moving to different places and spreading all over the world.
I lived in Messina until I was 18, and then my spinning life began. I studied law in Rome and during my university career, thanks to exchange programs, I had the possibility to travel and meet people from all over the world. I love to travel and to get in touch with different cultures and environments. I am a very sociable person and I love meeting new people: my friends always say that I could be able to talk even with walls! Nevertheless I mostly travel alone: in my experience that is the best way to discover in depth the place where you are. When you travel by yourself you are never alone, the people are more open and always try to help you and to share something with you.
While I was spinning around, I arrived in Buenos Aires where I lived for almost six months. Life there was so interesting, it opened my horizons and gave me the chance to get to know in depth the Argentinian culture and its history, and to travel all around the country. I visited Patagonia and the Tierra del Fuego, where nature is so powerful and pristine to leave you breathless. Unfortunately, in the 20th century, the genocide of the Selk’nam natives lead to the total extinction of the Fuegian population. Charles Darwin and others believed that they were far less evolved than European men. By saying so, they justified the undisguised violence against human lives and the land.
One of my best experiences in Argentina was to hitchhike through the Northern regions by myself. I can’t explain the joy I felt when I was on the road sharing mate with people from all over South America. Mate is a typical Argentinian hot drink. The ritual of drinking mate is well known by every single Argentinian, it is based on hospitality, sharing and it has very strict rules. While I was going around the country, I met many communities of natives Americans who were fighting for their rights and for the protection of their lands and their culture. I still can feel the power of their activism and their desire to stand up for their rights and to dignify their culture that for too many years was considered inferior.
Then, life brought me to Murcia where I lived for two years. Life in the south of Spain was magical. From my window I could hear flamenco coming from the street where gypsy where often gathering to spread some good vibes throughout the neighborhood. Between Spanish movida, cervezas, paella and some tapas I finally graduated in law with a thesis on soil sealing and environmental protection of the soil. I will share with you a few words about it. Soil sealing is a big issue all over Europe, and not only. Soil is an important natural resource, just like water and air. Rural and natural areas bring aesthetic richness, ensure food needs and perform different environmental functions. The widening of the boundaries of the cities at the expenses of rural soils has never stopped; the urban centers continue to expand at unsustainable rates, in the almost total absence of limits and rules – if not those of rent and profit. The over-exploitation of the soil is completely illogical. The cities are full of abandoned places and disused buildings, and yet the urban areas continue to expand devastating soil, landscapes, biodiversity and natural resources. To pay the consequences of this distorted idea of progress is not only nature but also people, forced to live in unhealthy and degraded environments (sorry for the outburst!).
After the end of my university career I was a bit confused about my future and my life expectations. That is why I decided to move to a little volcanic island in the north of Sicily to take a little break (I lived there for six months). There I was working, doing scuba diving and learning organetto (a traditional Italian musical similar to the accordion). This island lives on a time of its own: during the winter it has only 55 inhabitants. There is a little school and two little supermarkets. There are no cars, and donkeys are used to carry different loads up the mountain.
There are no roads but unlit paths that lead to the houses, and during the night it is not possible to run across it without the help of a torch. I have to tell you friends, it is a paradise. After this months in the pure nature I have been to France for the grape harvest. The work was hard and sometimes life conditions were difficult, but the people that I met there are still in my heart. I spent more than one month between Bourgogne and Bordeaux and I met young people from each corner of southern Europe (Italy, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Bulgaria) who mostly go there to taste good wines and to have a French salary.
I finally decided to study something that was more in line with my temperament and my future expectations. I went back to Rome and I started a Master’s in Peace Building and International Cooperation. I was excited about this new adventure and could not wait to find a project that allowed me to take care of the environment and that would give me the opportunity to discover a new place. I finally found the Italian cooperation project “Corpi Civili di Pace”, promoted by the Department for Youth Policies and Universal Civil Service, which aims to impartially promote solidarity and cooperation, nationally and internationally, with particular regard to the environmental protection, protection of social rights and education for peace among people. Now I am a volunteer here in Belgrade with FOSDI. I am enthusiastic to be here and to canalize my energy to increase awareness regarding environmental protection. My first month in Serbia was amazing! For the first weeks I lived in Zemun. Living by the river was magical. I spent my days walking by the Dunav feeding the swans and eating riblja ćorba. Sometimes it can be hard to start a new life in a new environment, but Belgrade made me feel at home from the very first moment .