Youth for Peace and psychiatric patients spend the summer together in Albania, overcoming the isolation of the harshest months of the pandemic.Albania#santegidiosummer
"I was a baby when the Vlora, a vessel crammed with young Albanians in search of a better future, arrived in Italy in August 30 years ago. This summer I made the same journey backwards. We went to Elbasan and I was happy to see my friends from the Sadik Dinci psychiatric hospital again, after a year and a half of total isolation because of Covid".
Thus begins the moving report by Laura from the Youth for Peace of Genoa, who spent their summer holidays visiting their Albanian friends that the pandemic had isolated for so long.
There are more than 300 psychiatric patients in the hospital, many of them suffering mainly from poverty. People with no family and no resources, a situation in which even a small problem easily becomes a pathology. The pandemic also kept away the few family members who used to visit them. It was not possible to go out, not even to get a coffee at the café next to the hospital.
"Nazif told me that for a year and a half his only activities were eating and sleeping. "I was almost always in bed. What could I do? At a certain point I thought that no one would ever come to see me again," Laura continues.
"I was able to meet Nazif again because the hospital gave the community special permission: every morning a group of patients could leave the wards to spend time with us. So we met again in the large concrete courtyard around which the hospital is built. Nazif's eyes were full of joy after the long period of isolation in despair. "I knew you would come back!"
All around us, many patients were looking out of the window grates, smiling and calling us by name, happy for the visit. I was very impressed: they remembered our name, even though some time had passed. Leonida recalled the names of all the friends he had met over the last twelve years and said with tears in his eyes: "you have made me laugh but above all you haven't forgotten me - you are our future".