Bebe’s Courage


Seventeen year old Beatrice, known as Bebe, was told, in 2008, that she had contracted something serious and threatening: meningococcal disease. Every day she would wake up with excruciating pain in the veins and sores in her extremities. She spent a hundred and four days in a hospital in the Island of Elba, only to later joke that she beat Napoleon’s record by a day. Bebe also was one of thirty thousand kids that gave life to AGESCI’s National Route 2014, not just a showing off event but rather a substantial effort composed of actual examples and life stories brought together by the common denominator of courage.

Because of the necrosis caused by her disease, Bebe had to undergo a series of amputations. Yet she found the strength, typical of Veneto’s spirit of practicality, to react to them with a smile, given that the drastic surgery saved her life from certain death. “As long I am not dying, everything is OK,” Bebe would say. After she improved, she started from scratch and found the strength, thanks to support from her family and friends, to begin experiencing the beauty and flavor of things once again. About a year after the amputation she went back to fencing, her biggest passion, and restarted attending scout activities in her group, Mogliano 2. With the help of other young amputees, she founded a nonprofit that provides sports equipment to disabled youth, so that they can practice what they like most. Bebe is happy, in spite of all the trouble she has had in life; and she has managed to overcome her problems by finding the necessary courage in her passions and in her loved ones.”

Stories like Bebe’s give an idea about how important get-together collectives such as the scout community are and how important life issues cannot be thoroughly understood only through study, but also in the company of people of your age. In a world were communication is founded on stereotypes (“illegal alien” or “burned-out youth”, just to bring a couple of examples…) and which construe an entire reality based on these clichés, one cannot help but wonder if what looks like a symptom of societal distress isn’t but the terminal stage of a disease impossible to cure.

Agesci’s National Route begs to differ. Launched in Pisa not long ago, it has strongly promoted a change of mentality. Thousands of joyful, colored, lively tents. When placed in front of rows of tents, though, journalists cannot but think of tent cities that rise in times of floods, earthquakes, suffering, “wailing and gnashing of teeth,” to say it with the Bible. Those small emergency blankets usually are provided as a first aid to the youngest ones and little kids; but the endless expanse of tents in the Regional Park of San Rossore, in Pisa did stand for the beauty of staying together and the ability to (finally) speak. “Just a month has passed since the end of the National Route. And it maybe is too early for drawing conclusions,” said Marilina Laforgia and Matteo Spanò, Presidents of AGESCI’s National Committee. However, the seeds of the future seem to have been planted, obviously. What makes us especially happy is the quality of the kids’ involvement. While they didn’t give up their cheerfulness, the joy of staying together, they also knew how to be serious, when needed.”

“Now the review stage is about to start; and it requires an emotional detachment in order to give a correct and serene reading of the experience just had,” said Elena Bonetti and Sergio Bottiglioni from Branca Rover and Scolte. “We have to cut the umbilical cord keeping us attached to what just happened and move on. The time has come to evaluate the National Route’s methodological, political and associational impact. Things come to an end; and getting used to this fact is part of the education we would like to convey. You cannot remain prisoner of past emotions; our mandate, right now, is to disassemble the tents and go back to everyday life. Yet, after going through this experience, we now can promptly affirm: ‘We are scouts!’

Translation provided by ProLingua


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