• July 17, 2013

Chile: A generous kind man
and a man of humor and passion

On the bus to the zoo!

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.

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