By Simon Delannoy, French volunteer in Valparaiso, Chile
This month we had two wonderful highlights:
On the first place, thanks to a generous donor, we went to the zoo with almost 30 kids and youth from our neighborhood. It was a beautiful day, so full of cries of joy, wonder, faces illumined with surprise, curiosity, sometimes fear or excitement. For some of these children, it was the first time they took the little train that links Valparaiso with its surroundings. It was a really full day: every minute was full of life, of energy and joy.
There were so many miracles on this day. Upon arrival at the zoo, after a few minutes spent with the cashier to see if we could get a group discount, she went to speak with the manager who came to see us. "Thank you for what you do, it’s beautiful. I know your neighborhood. I just want to take a picture with you. Please, come in, go and enjoy your day!” I could not believe my ears. I was touched by the gesture of this man who preferred to take part in children’s smiles than to have more money in his pocket.
The second highlight was the discovery of an important character of the Chilean culture: the famous Chilean poet Pablo Neruda. We visited one of the three magnificent museum houses there are in Chile. This one is called Isla Negra, the Black Isle. Neruda had an incredible passion for objects and he collected many rare but also many very common, banal objects. He stated that drinking in a colored glass changed the taste of the water, it made it more enjoyable! That is why, we can guess, living in such a house, where he usually hosted many of his friends, must have given him such a particular taste for life, and made of him a man of passion with a lot of sense of humor.