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The Blue Tent

· The essay ·

“I am sending you to Adwa”, the superior told her. “I vaguely remembered a colonial battle, indeed an Italian defeat; but at that moment nothing else sprang to my mind” Sr Laura Girotto recounted, speaking of her last mission that began in 1993. “I was almost 50 and I wanted it to be tough” she went on, “so that it might be really worthwhile”. Starting with a blue tent (where she was to live for three years) today the Salesian Kidane Mehret Mission is a reference point for the local population who find their lost dignity in work and instruction. The book La tenda blu [The Blue Tent] by Niccolò d’Aquino (Paoline, 2011) tells of this institution and retraces the history of Tigray, an area devastated by weed killer during the dictatorship of Mènghistu. Now that the mission has become a small town with schools, textile workshops and a hospital being built Sr Laura continues to go back and forth between Adwa and the rest of the world to seek funds, happy to have given up a brilliant career as a dress designer in a fashion atelier in Turin to follow her vocation. (@silviaguidi)

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