OSTEOPATHY FOR SOCIAL SPHERE: OSTEOPATHIC TREATMENTS FOR EMMAUS
“We don’t possess a resource to benefit from it, but to be able to offer it”, said Abbè Pierre, founder of the international movement “Emmaus”. In this spirit, Emmaus communities try to help those who live at the borders of society, and have started the project “Osteopathy for social sphere”, that involves the educator Dr. Salvatore Iozzia and future osteopaths Ilaria Tanini, Simone Fabri, Dr.Ivan Leggeri, Antonio Furfaro and Daniele Salis, in Zagarolo community, Rome. In fact, for the first time, a group of Osteopathy students, since the beginning of 2016, has given series of free treatments to people who live in the community.
Emmaus hosts homeless people and gives them a place where to sleep, food and a job:
The communities are not supported by public institutions, but supports themselves with ethical thrift shops by circulating all what the opulence of our societies impedes us to make full use of. Rather than throw it away, the societies permit us to reuse it. In these communities, people search and find the self-respect that the road and the misery has taken away. They can heal the sufferings caused by loneliness, and share not only their pain, but also their own resources. For this reason the project “Osteopathy for social sphere” was born. Because in addition to being welcomed and getting a job, in addition to having food and protection, it is necessary to take care of oneself: love and cuddle yourself, to love and cuddle. Primary necessities often absorb so much our mind that we neglect to take care of our body, feeling taken down by suffering and exclusion.
Thanks to osteopathy in centers like Emmaus community, people who are trying to rebuild their life (not only economically) have the possibility to start a holistic path that embrace every aspect of social integrating.
-- Girolamo Grammatico, Emmaus Zagarolo director
Fifth and sixth years Osteopathy students have decided to take part in the project as volunteers, treating Emmaus Zagarolo hosts having the opportunity to face complex and different clinical conditions. Listening to their life stories, recognizing in their bodies the signs of those stories, has been a precious aspect of this experience, always supervised by Dr. Iozzia in thinking and practicing. Living the warmth of Emmaus guys and Girolamo’s kind and generous welcome, sharing the meal prepared with vegetables from the vegetable garden they cultivate, walking and chatting among their animals, has given the students the opportunity to understand the importance of the concept of service and listening, during their osteopathic practice.
Ilaria Tanini, Simone Fabri, Antonio Furfaro, Daniele Salis, Ivan Leggeri
I was asked to share my personal experience at the “Emmaus” Community, in Zagarolo, during the last months. Here, I got involved in group service but obviously feelings are personal. In this reality I just respected my duty as human being giving myself to others. But what could I offer? When, in June 2016, I had the opportunity to join the activities of the “Emmaus” Community, I accepted immediately, even though I didn't know how I could help and contribute in this Seva. Until that time I had never worked in a group or in a community, but I helped people in my daily life, when I got the chance.
“Emmaus” is a community, that hosts needy men as long as they respect few and simple rules: no drugs, no alcohol, no crime and work for self-support. In particular, “Emmaus” manages a small sale point, in a garage, to get the daily livelihood. The first day I was so excited and I asked myself: “What am I doing here? Who am I to be here? They don’t need my help”. It was 9 a.m., when I entered the community center. Immediately, one by one, the hosted boys introduced themselves (formerly addicted to drugs and alcohol, former prisoners and homeless) and my heart started to melt due to their kindness and hospitality.
After some time they began to tell me their story, and I couldn't believe their words. Such wonderful people, which had experienced the prison, drugs, alcohol and violence. It wasnt really possible to me and I couldn’t believe it. But as a Friend of mine always says:” past is past” and they were new people in front of my incredulous eyes, an excellent result born out of their past. Immediately, the various tasks were given, and mine as well: Mario, follow him in daily cleaning and work together (he has a sweet name that I omit for privacy). There I understood why my mother taught me how to clean our house, when I was a small child. An unwanted training turned out to be so important in different occasion as this. We finished our task for lunchtime. Great team!
For lunch, the hosted boys prepared a vegan meal for the Seva group (everybody in my group are vegetarian and do not eat eggs). Food was served with high level decorations, even the vegan custard, served in cups, had a chocolate leaf in it. Being welcomed in this way for me has been and will always be a fantastic surprise. From this first meeting, many others came. At least one per month, with different tasks and with increasing love between the Seva group and the hosted boys. This community is located near to Rome; I live in Naples, 250km south, but I have never felt the distance between them and me. One time I invited the boys of the “Emmaus” to Naples to load a truck with used items that they could sell in Zagarolo. It has been one of the most intense and beautiful days in my life. That day I really felt useful, not just to them, but especially to myself, because in these occasions you are overwhelmed by a flood of happiness, that is not of this world.
After many meetings, I answered the questions that you read at the beginning of this story:
What can I donate? Why am I here? Who am I to be here? Those are the answers: Donate nothing more than yourself; food can always be found, clothes and money, too.
What is missing are human relationships, our presence. Why am I here? Im here to learn to give and to offer. Im here to learn how to love and the hosted boys are my teachers.
Who am I to be here? I am a needy. I need to learn from who suffered, from who lived his life in every sudden swing.