europe, italy, Rome

Rome Day 8: L’Aquila

Wednesday was a super special day. We traveled to L’Aquila, which as I mentioned before, is one of Shoot4Change’s big focus areas after it has not been rebuilt following a devastating earthquake.

What we came across with S4C is far worse than I imagined: homes completely in ruins, piles of rubble along the roads, a sliced open university. The streets of this poor town did not look like it had been struck by disaster seven years ago; I would have believed if someone told me it hit one year ago. Apparently, there are funds available towards rebuilding L-Aquila, but politics keep getting in the way. It truly brought feelings of sadness and despair over me, and I wish there was something more I could do to help.

The most help I could provide, however, was my work with Shoot4Change with my class to help spread awareness to not just Italians or Europeans, but to more English speaking countries. That is one of the tasks my class wants to undertake, so with not much direction in mind besides the idea of a new promotional video, we were determined to make a great video for S4C and L’Aquila. We had a series of interviews set up, but due to strict bus driving regulations, we had to leave early and miss two of our interviews. We were fortunate enough to interview Andrea, the head of the Rome branch of S4C, Dario, another volunteer from S4C, and a first responder who helped when the earthquake struck. It was a an enriching experience watching the film students set up cameras quickly for the interviews and the public relations students working together to delegate tasks and create interview questions.

Preparing for our shoot (Photo: Nick Boffardi)

I feel so fortunate that we got to meet and hear from people so directly involved in the earthquake and its aftermath. The first responder explained how it was so fresh in his head. He told us about a surgeon who worked on victims around the clock, and who unfortunately lost his wife and daughter in the quake. Dario sorrowfully told us he wants to be involved and make a difference because he lived in L’Aquila and lost one of his good friends in the disaster. The only big issue was the fact that Dario and the first responder speak Italian, so Andrea had to give us a summary of their answers. This actually ended up changing the direction that our video will take, but hey, it’s just a small detour in the long road!

Hofstra Romans take L’Aquila

We got back to St. John’s that night to find out we were eating dinner without our professors. After a small pow-wow, went back to Morrison’s to eat, and then enjoyed an absolutely fantastic night on the town at a small place called G-Bar. We actually ended up meeting our tour guide from Sorrento there, who showed us around and took care of us all night.

The ladies at Piazza Navona

It was another long day with a late (very late) night, but I would not have it any other way.


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