Sunday 23 November 2008

One week of village life

One week has passed since my arrival in Malito, Calabria and it has been a very cold week at that. Fierce storms have ravaged through most of Italy and this little village was not left out of the lime light. We spent most of yesterday and the day before with non-stop rain, gale force freezing cold winds and the power going on and off. Bel ragazzo, who has been on deaths door with a cold, took me for a drive to check out some of the damage as a neighbour called to say that a tree on one of their country properties had fallen. We drove further along to check out our maybe potential house and a giant tree which is technically bel ragazzos had fallen blocking part of a road. The tree is to big for him to clear away, but he has made a deal with a neighbour to 'watch' the tree as since it is the season of sitting around your open fire place...someone will surely come with their own chain saw and try to 'steal' the wood. He has agreed with the neighbour that they can halve the wood as long as he can make sure no one comes along to take the wood without prior consent!

There are so many things about village life which I find amusing but also frustrating. As you know from my last post we have had a few religious issues. I am a full Catholic but let's just say that I am non-practicing and really don't think too much of the Catholic church at all. I am not going to turn this into a religious post, but I think that the message of the church is a good one to live by. I think we should all live an honest life, help those less fortunate then us, try to be good people etc...this message that the church tries to share is a good message and something I believe in. I do however not believe in an organisation (which is what the Vatican actually is) that says it is a sin to live together without being married, that gay couples cannot be legally recognised, that women cannot chose whether to continue with a pregnancy...and that the terminally ill cannot chose when to end their life.

There had been a story on the news every night about a girl who had been in a coma for 17 years. Yes, 17 years. Doctors had diagnosed her as being brain dead, she cannot live without life support yet for all this time the Vatican said that the parents could not ask for her life support to be turned off as this was murder. At the same time the news was showing a story about a young girl in the UK who had a life threatening condition, and with the help of her parents she had decided it was time for her life to come to an end. The Italian media went wild that this young girl had the choice of life or death, when this poor Italian family with a daughter technically dead had no legal chance to let her finally go. After 17 years the Vatican decided that in this case, they could finally turn off her life support. You see there is no law in Italy relating to euthanasia. It took Vatican and the government years, and years and years to reach this decision and permission was only given to this family - the law has not been for someone else in a similar situation will have to go through this entire process again.

I love living in Italy, I really do but you cannot understand the real Italy until you live here. I have heard so many stories in the past few days, over the past year years which I will share with you in other posts, so that those outside of Italy can try to understand what a peculiar country this is. A country which is rife with corruption, when things are blatantly illegal but no one can or will do anything...those stories will come as a story I was told last night was a clear example of how non-just Italy can be.

And speaking of un-just...bel ragazzo and I went to church today since we had to speak with the priest about me being his confirmation sponsor. I was shocked when he said that I cannot be his sponsor. It was irrelevant that I am Australian, he did not need to see my religious was because I am a girl! Bel ragazzo has to have a male sponsor..or no one at all. Crazy! For an adult male to be confirmed it seems it is better for him to be sponsor less, rather then have me - or even bel ragazzo's mother - carry out this role.

Oh least I do not have to go to church anymore.


Rosa said...

I had my son baptized with my two brothers for godmother and godfather, and the italian priest here (in Luxembourg) did'nt bat an eyelid. Maybe the village priest in Malito should travel a bit more!

Bitter Chocolate said...

Tell me about cold, we've had first snow this weekend! Anyways, I think institutionalised religion has nothing to do with belief itself. I do believe in believing (er, that sounds odd) but I'm not a big fan of church. My parents never had me baptized when I was little and I'm really thankful for that _ I don't think it's fair to mark a child with a particular religion when he or she is too young to decide. But that's just me, I'm a little specific concerning religious problems.

Anonymous said...

Unbelievable (about the girl and how you can't be a sponsor). I really enjoyed this post and understand those pecularities that aren't obvious until you live in Italy that u mentioned..