There is but one road leading to the isolated town, our summer village. A place little touched by time, by technology’s progress, or by the frenetic pace of getting ahead. Thirteen years had passed since our last visit. And though fewer and older, the inhabitants somehow seem to remain much the same. Many of old and wrinkled pass on, while others take their place. Different, yet the same. With the same lines of suffering and hardship. The same bleak look of hopelessness.
Hopelessness one doesn’t expect to find in 21st century Italy or Europe.
Time passes slowly here. They while the day away in simple tasks. A bowl of pasta. A little weeding in the garden. A chat with neighbors. But mostly they just sit and wait. For what, even they don’t seem to know.
It’s gradually dying off, slowly becoming a ghost town. And there, at the top of the hill sits Hubby’s ancestral home, our summer home. God’s gift that we use for outreach. We go, and we keep going, out of love for this abandoned people, in such an abandoned area.
- Only one road goes in because the other has never been repaired after the landslide over a decade ago.
- There is almost no work — NO WORK in giant letters.
- And agriculture, their traditional livelihood, has been greatly hindered because of insane natural park laws.
- They have only one doctor for the 500-600 people.
- The nearest hospital is 45 minutes away, down the steep and winding mountain road.
- Few shops, and only the tiniest of grocery stores.
- There is one tiny Bible-believing church in our town, and only a handful of others scattered through the area.
- And for the most part they feel abandoned, hopeless, and beyond forgotten.
We go because we love it there and we go to offer hope.
To show that they are neither forgotten nor abandoned. That their others who think of them. And we go to offer friendship, encouragement, and the hope that things can change. But we go mostly to tell them that God will never forget them, and to show the great love he has for them.
And we go because the almost haunting beauty of the place has captured our hearts. But the people have totally claimed them!
Update: Since publication, the other road (of the only 2) going to the village has been partially repaired and reopened. But the last stretch, from the nearest town, still needs repair. We drive on it, but it is clearly marked proceed at your own risk. Obviously, the village remains sadly forgotten.
Images are my own.