Once upon a time there was a dream. A dream that starts in Holland passing through Cina. In the big rice fields a Dutch shipowner founds the motor of a pump, that had been used for reclamations and irrigations. A big engine that could be used for the boat always dreamt : a sailing ship, a brig to be more precise . The dream comes true and the Swann fan Makkum comes alive, the Makkum Swan, the shipowner home town.
Until today the biggest brig in the world, distinguished at bow from a beautiful swan with spread wings. The swan flight carries on in an unexpected way. The Italian YACHT CLUB ITALIA would like to give the opportunity to try the sailing experience to disadvantaged people. The “Swan” would be perfect and his owner is ready to sell it.
That is why on the 9 th of October 2006 the brig arrives in Genova and changes his name into ” Nave Italia”. The 10th of January 2007 on board of the brig it is constituted the Fondazione Tender to Nave Italiana Onlus ( Ttni) : ” we believe that the outcasts , children , teenagers and adults with disability , are not only ” objects of protection” but also people able to actively give answers, expression of unexpected energy and new awareness of the own value as people. The foundation Ttni considers each form of ‘diversity ‘ as an element of mutual enrichment”.
They also signed a contract with the Italian navy ( Marina Militare Italiana) for loan for use of it: so the adventure begins that has allowed more than 3000 ” special passengers” to live an extraordinary educational experience, that has been able to imprint on the training processes ,habilitation and re- habilitation processes for children, teenagers ,adults and elderly in different situations of physical , psychic and social discomfort”. Every year the “Nave Italiana ” opens up to around 20 projects, presented from associations and cooperative from all over the peninsula. The area of intervention are three: physical disability , social discomfort and mental illness. But there is not stops or walking around the beautiful costs or in the ports: purpose of the project is in fact to transmit the meaning of the travel , to navigate as a chance to live in a community , developing sociality and helping each other to share an educational project.
During the five days of navigation it is not permitted to land but only for emergencies .
A big group composed with orphanage teenagers from Piemonte, Sardinia, Romagna; guests from the ” Girasole” and the ” SAN Damiano” ( Sassari) cooperative; Karim , the group mascot, a disabled child together with they tutors and parents, they all form a group characterized from a familiar climate. Everyday life is punctuated from group activities ( cleaning the cabins , setting the table ,cleaning the table ) and rest times. Thread of the five days navigation is a deepening of social rights.
The 21 passengers become part of the crew , together with the marines that accompany them with patience during the trip, showing them the characteristics of the boat, the boat tools and teaching team the knots .
The most emotional event is spreading the sails while crossing from Sardinia to Elba Island . Everything contributes to create team spirit ,helping to overcome the difficulties about sharing small spaces and unusual rules.
It is not easy to create the right feeling, that can be able to involve many people with so many differences.
Karim has been able to live special sensations. He helped the group to understand each other and get closer. The sea, the wind, the sailors, our brother from the community …. a perfect mix to live five dream days, perfect in any part”. But to live for this adventure has not always been easy , Caterina says:” I was frightened , I didn’t want to go if every one else would have said to me that it was going to be a wonderful experience….. Karim has eating difficulties , so I was worried I could not prepare his food for him, he is 12 years old, he is blind, he can not hear very well and he is autistic. He is always looking for stimulating new things… that is way the wind , the water and the noises have created positive sensations in him. He slept 14 hours per day, something that would never happen at home. So a success for him too!!”.
Very happy of the expedition is also Fabio Gallo, chief of the project for the Comunità Papà Giovanni XXIII: ” these five days were a challenge , trying to create a group with very different people who didn’t know each other.
We managed all together to form this union , that improves happiness to let this people try an unique experience. And in the main time we have new ideas for the next project…”
As soon as the Swan comes back il will be ready to fly again.