Saturday, October 17, 2015

Fields of Grain

" there anywhere in the world as full of beauty as Italy?”
― Natalia Sanmartín Fenollera

If you follow or know me at all, you know that there are very few places that I'd rather be than Italy. I love it to a fault, and that will never change, I'm afraid.  It makes me so happy to be here and to be able to share its beauty and wonder with others.

After I arrived the other day, I said hello to Lilli at the bar, walked to the mercato to grab a few items, and lay down to rest a few minutes. I woke up about four hours later (7:30 pm), took my medicine, and went back to bed. Somewhere around 11:30 yesterday morning, I finally got out of bed. After I got ready, I had my cappucino with Lilli and then walked around town for a few hours. I was thrilled to see the Due Torre were still in the same place, but I figured since they've been there for hundreds of years, that wasn't going to change any time soon.

This morning, I couldn't sleep, so I got up very early and went back to Piazza Maggiore, the main piazza in town.  I noticed that people were lining hundreds of ceramic plates on the piazza (above and below). I watched for some time and then headed to the Saturday mercato in another piazza close by. It's pretty chilly here (66-degree high today), so I needed to buy a few pairs of socks so I don't freeze over the next two weeks.

I walked back through the piazza and noticed that all of the plates were laid out and upside down (below). The whole thing intrigued me, and I figured it had something to do with hunger since I saw people wearing jackets that had sayings about fighting hunger.

As I rounded the top of the piazza, I noticed boxes (below) that asked, "Where will you be October 17? World Day of Power.... Fight Hunger in Kilolo with Us."  The sign goes on to urge people to choose a plate and plant a field of grain fighting against hunger in Africa.

Kilolo, as I found out once I got home and googled it, is a town in Tanzania. From what I could tell, it is a dichotomy—a resort for the rich and famous, yet a neglected area for those in need. Hunger is rampant among its natives. 

I walked back later in the afternoon and noticed that many of the plates were now right-side up, and balloons held down by seed packets adorned them. As I watched, more and more people (and their children) turned over a plate and put balloons and seed packets on them. (Plant a field of grain....Get it?) At the same time, a guy with a mic kept thanking everyone for fighting hunger in Africa.

By the last time I passed through the piazza (around 5), there were dancing balloons all over the place (below).

You are, perhaps, wondering why I'm making any kind of deal about this since there are drives like this in the US all the time. I know it's nothing unusual, but the thing I found interesting was what was going on just around the corner at the exact same time. (If you look at the fourth photo, I'm talking about what is just behind me about 50 yards away.)  I'll tell you about it tomorrow, but suffice to say that it is the kind of crazy thing that happens here that makes me so comfortable.

By the way, the word for hunger in Italian is "fame" (fah-may).  It's Latin root is the same as famished in English.  (I'm geeking out on you here...)

A domani.....

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