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Brazil – Unforgettable experience for volunteers of "Operation Mato Grosso"
(ANS – Campinápolis) – They spent six months in Brazil, working among the “poorest in the Kingdom”. An experience in three states: Goiás, Tocantins and Mato Grosso. They have finished their work and now have to go home with an experience that has completely transformed their lives. A total of 67 young people participated in a joint effort in the villages of São Pedro, São José and São Gabriel. “This is a farewell work camp for young people who came to live in Mato Grosso for six months,” explained Vanderley Miranda, president of the Alvorada Social Center, which organized the Mutirão activities.
They stayed in Campinápolis, MT, between 18 and 22 November. They worked in the village of São Pedro, renovating the school, repairing the homes of missionaries and the roofs of houses and the church. In the village of São Gabriel, they repaired a building that had been destroyed by a fire a few weeks before.
Clemílson was assigned to accompanying the boarding school’s young Xavantes who come from the villages and study in “Novo São Joaquim”. He considers himself a privileged person to have lived this experience which he considers extremely enrichening, humanly and spiritually. “We often talk about poverty and it is only in theory. When we have the grace to come to work in the villages, we can see this reality. We are lucky because we do something good for those who really need it,” he said.
Ursula and Pietro are Italians. They spent six months serving the poor youth of Brazil, the oratories and boarding schools. Both recognize that the experience of helping those in need has been transformative for them. “I did charity, I helped clean the old people’s home, I talked to them, I kept them company. I am very grateful for this experience that I will always carry in my heart,” says Ursula.
Another foreign volunteer is Ivan, from Peru, where he met the founder and spiritual guide of “Operation Mato Grosso”, Fr Ugo De Censi, who died in December 2018. “For me it was something beautiful, because I never had had the opportunity to see this reality, let alone live it.”
According to the Pastoral Coordinator of the community of Nova Xavantina, Salesian deacon José Alves de Oliveira, the volunteers also helped repair the medical facility in the village of São José.
During the farewell party of the Campinapolis group of volunteers, Fr de Oliveira recalled that “the important thing is that every activity was a gesture of love. And this love is a small seed that will bear much fruit.”
Source: Salesian Misión de Mato Grosso