When I was given the opportunity to live an experience as a volunteer at ABF, on the occasion of the tour of my young compatriots, Voices of Haiti, I was aware that that opportunity would leave a sign in me, but I would never expect it to be so intense.

In fact, had I to describe with an adjective those ten days we have spent together, I would summarize them in the term ‘strong’…Everything, in fact, has been strong since the very first day. Strong, was the impact with the staff, who welcomed me as I if were already part of the family, and who has pampered and accompanied me, not just as a ‘colleague and a beginner’, but as a friend and a sister. And this has made me feel strong and grateful.

But the ‘strongest’ day, the one that made me feel upset, was the second, that is, the arrival of the sixty choir children. I was excited and my heart was beating fast when I saw them get off the bus. At first, I wondered how I could have been really useful, as they crossed my gaze, tired for the long journey. Soon after, I went to their rooms to know each of them and make myself available for them. I was in a room with a group of girls lost in their little world and their joy for the exceptionality of everything they were experiencing. Helping one of them, who was struggling with her shoes, I spoke to her in Creole. At first, she was astonished, and then she called her friends: ‘Girls, she speaks Creole’. ‘Because I am from Haiti too’, I replied. Then the group gathered around me and one of the girls told me: ‘You are my sister, I knew it from the moment I saw you. You are beautiful and when I am grown up I want to be like you’.

It is impossible to explain in words the joy of such a simple and disarming compliment, and of the affectionate words that would follow in the following days when, little by little, we learned to know each other better and better.

Being in the unexpected condition of representing, for their simple and generous hearts, a point of reference has filled me with joy, and above all has given me a great strength. I have realized how nice and challenging it is to be – an adult – on the other side of the objective, with the responsibility of representing an example to follow.

Still, great emotions, ‘strong’, very strong ones, the first night that I heard the Voices of Haiti sing in Lajatico’s main square, along with Andrea Bocelli: I felt so proud of these little angels who were representing my country, thanks to Andrea and to the team of his foundation.

That day, in the afternoon, I had met in person Maestro Bocelli when, on his white horse, he had come to meet us, and had then welcomed us in his country house. I am grateful and proud of being part of this enlarged family that is the foundation that has his name. I hope it’s just the beginning, I hope to grow, in the skills and in the ability to help. I hope to continue the journey with ABF, I hope to be of help to the others and do something good for the world. Perfectly aware that, by giving, far more than what you give is, in the end, what you receive: those emotions, strong, extremely strong, that make you a better person.

Vasthie Pier