La locanda dei ragazzi

Publish date 03-10-2021

by Chiara Vitali

An opportunity to build real relationships. The Locanda dei Ragazzi is located in the center of Foggia and is the meeting place for about twenty young people. A nice movement animates it: music, sports, walks in the midst of nature, aid activities for the neighborhood's poverty.

“There is a great need for relationships. Here we try to build something together, on a free path» explains Paolo, the project manager. An idea born at the end of a journey for adolescents in a Salesian-inspired aggregation center: «We have decided to continue our journey with something more. We wanted to be and to give hope ».

The average age of the children who attend the Locanda is now 22 years old and many are university students: age groups for which there are not many proposals for socializing. The fixed appointment is on Friday but also during the week there are alternate opportunities for meeting. The pandemic has not stopped the dialogue: video calls have allowed everyone to stay close. But not only that: the boys sent each other some letters, written by hand. An initiative with a precise meaning: «We tell something about ourselves to the other, with greater slowness, as if it were a commitment to introspection» explains Paolo.

The Locanda does not advertise itself but requests to participate arrive frequently and are expected to increase after the pandemic. The doors are open: "The name Locanda is inspired by the parable of the good Samaritan: we want to be a safe place for those who no longer want to be alone".

Among the young people who participate in the activities there are believers and non-believers. But the group's reflections are gathered around a theme that concerns everyone: "We define it as a life project". There, the Gospel takes its place: "It is an element that leads everyone to question themselves and to reflect on the prejudices we often have about faith". Its reading is a proposal that is not rejected. Everyone, then, remains free to believe or not believe. “Let's try to do this too: to present God as love rather than as a rule or morality” says Paul. The Locanda was the home of a family, later a flower shop. Before going in, the boys had to fix it. It is now their home too.

NP Maggio 2021

Chiara Vitali

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