I remember very well my first day as volunteer in the Horse School. I took a walk in the park of the school with my tutor at school and some pupils with disabilities, and it was asked me if working with these children scared me. I answered that I felt totally at ease. The truth was that I felt a mix of excitement of tension: I wasn’t afraid of the children, I was afraid of myself. I was afraid of realizing over the time of not being able to meet the expectations of this challenge, and I was afraid that I couldn’t provide any contribution for the emotional growth of these children. I forced myself to set aside these irrational fears, because I had come here in Poland very motivated and aware of my potentialities, and I didn’t have reasons to doubt myself, I knew that I was a person with an extraordinary and innate capacity to connect and empathize by all the means, and the fact that I was going to work with children with serious disabilities (and who didn’t even speak english) wouldn’t be a problem. I had just to do what I was able to do without judging myself and giving me the opportunities of making mistakes, because it’s through mistakes that we can understand which parts of us we have to improve, and how we can do it.
Every day at school I make different activities (cooking, gym, drawing, ceramic, workshop, support to children with low abilities, theatre, gardening, hyppotherapy, music therapy) with the pupils of the school, and each of these activities gives me a different kind of fullfillment, even those that at the beginning I liked less (ceramic), beacuse it’s always amazing to see as collaborating with these children with these pupils can make them feel so involved in what they do. And something that I found out is how the hyppotherapy is giving me a new kind of awareness of myself and a new emotional balance, teaching me how to carry my energies and my concentration in what I am doing, setting aside my feelings and thoughts connected to these. Horses are very mighty and forceful animals, and when you work with them you have to be aware that everything can happen in a tenth of a second, and consequently you must pay attention and have the control of the situation, in order to guarantee the security of yourself and the children, and all the people around you. All this makes me enter in an emotional dimension, in which only the horse, the child and me are included. This thing helps me to “feel myself” and to disconnect from all the rest. Moreover I have to say that if I’ve always had the passion of cooking, the desire to make the culinary tradition of my country known to the pupils and the teachers of my school has led me to improve more and more my cooking skills, and it’s always rewarding to see how the pupils are curious to learn, and their enthusiasm and their partecipation is even better than knowing how much they appreciate that I propose (not for being self-celebrative but I consider myself The King in cooking pasta…at least here in Sosnowiec). But the thing that I am more proud of, it’s how I’ve been able to transform some pupils that at the beginning seemed very unwilling to speak and to partecipate, but by providing them some inputs with little gestures and single words (even meaningless), I’ve managed to unblock them. And those meaningless words and gestures are fundamental, and they get worth when we realize how important they are for establishing a connection, built on shared meanings. I think this is the most important thing that this experience has taught me, and it doesn’t concern just the professional field, but it’s an important life lesson: sometimes we need to think about recovering and rediscovering the beauty of simplicity and spontaneity instead of measuring people’s abilities of communication by big, redundant and empty speeches. I couldn’t be more satisfated than now, because learning this lesson allowed me to learn something very important about myself: in my past I used to be very shy and insecure, and sometimes I’m still afraid that this feelings of insecurity can go back to haunting me, but that now I know that if I want I’m not just able to unblock myself, but I’m even able to unblock other people (in this case very problematic people). In conclusion: working in the Horse’s School makes me feel fullfilled as I’ve never felt.