Packages tales

Publish date 10-12-2020

by Marco Vitale

Day and night the Arsenal of Hope in Sao Paulo is a place where a special meeting takes place. Yes, because people constantly come knocking on the door desperately asking for help. But many women, men, young people and children also present themselves at this same door, who give what they can. Without this aid, the Arsenal would not be able to move forward. So we all live full of amazement observing this endless stream of friends who bring us the materials we need every time.

There are those who arrive on foot, out of breath, with a bag of rice in their hands and those in the car, with parcels and packages, bags and totes. Someone saw one of the flyers where we ask for food, cleaning products and personal hygiene. Others got to know us by listening to the instructions of a colleague, a neighbor or a relative. Each kilogram collected is the result of many stories.

One evening, for example, Barbara came to our door with her whole family. He met us five years earlier, on a school trip. She was also our volunteer with Professor Agostinho, helping in the dormitories and at the bazaar. He tells us that a few days before it was his birthday: 20 years. In time of Covid, it was impossible to celebrate with friends, so she got the idea of ​​giving us the money she would have spent on the party. Not only that: she also asked her friends not to give her gifts, but to use that money to buy us food. His parents' car was crammed with rice and beans. Meg, on the other hand, always arrives on Wednesday afternoons. With the car she first passes by all her friends who, to help us, give her clothes, fruit, vegetables, masks, soap ... While we unload, she tells us with emotion how much sacrifice there is behind each of those bags. He specifically tells us about the decision of a couple of his friends. Two months earlier, her husband had been infected by Covid. He has always had a problem with alcohol. So, when he was sick, he made a promise: in case of recovery, he would stop drinking for two months.

After two months, returning from a trip, he had bought several bottles of wine. Once he got home, looking at that full trunk, and his wife's eyes full of concern, he made up his mind: "I want to throw it all away and stop drinking." The wife full of happiness for that decision, at the same time did not feel calm at the thought of throwing all that stuff: it would have been a huge waste. So, thinking of their friend Meg and the needs of the Arsenale that she talked about so much, they had the idea of ​​selling everything to family and friends. They then gave that money to Meg who bought us boxes and boxes of masks.

Before leaving Meg records everything with her mobile phone and shows us the receipt: "Now I am sending the video and the photo of the receipt to all the friends who have helped us this week, because it is important to do everything transparently". There is time to thank, greet and sanitize hands and packages. Then someone knocks on the door, and the story continues.

Marco Vitale
NP october 2020

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