Live+Work+SMdP=One Intense Experience Day 2

First thing in the morning, Adriano who was a nurse for the psychiatric hospital joined us and he toured us around the grounds to tell us the history and importance of certain buildings.  One of the cruelest rules was that patients were confined to their buildings at all hour of the day.  Furthermore, nurses also did not have the privileges that doctors had to roam free on the grounds.  It was almost as cruel of a situation for the nurses.  Eventually the nurses had enough and created a revolution.  Adriano was one of the nurses involved in this revolution where the nurses threw keys out of the window of pavilion 16 and let the patients roam free outside.  This event eventually leads to a law that abolished the practice of such mental institutions in the 70’s.  Although the ward was closed in the 70’s as an institution, many patients needed help to reintegrate into normal society which took all the way until the mid 90’s to get the last patients integrated into society.  Even to this day, there are doctors on sight that can help patients get better and have a successful reintegration.

After this information session, Lorenzo and Julia would take us outside the walls of the complex through a hole in the fence.  The idea behind this came from the story of the throwing of keys outside the window.  One nurse took all the keys and buried them outside the walls of the complex along a small creek.  Intrigued by this myth, Lorenzo was the first to say lets try and find it followed by his iconic laugh.  So as a group we set off to eventually find a hole on the east side of the complex and we all jumped through.

As we all made our way to the creek, I spotted some shacks and houses.  Once we got closer they were actually little shacks with gardens of fruits, vegetables, nuts, and different herbs.  We then proceeded to walk along this narrow path between these little agricultural wonders. These gardens where amazing to see and they stretched for what looked and seemed like miles.  Unfortunately, I did not have bug spray and the little bit I used was not enough because the mosquitoes ate me alive…  Eventually we got to an open field and found a “farmer” on one of his parcels of land.  Lorenzo greeted him and the farmer asked for a cigarette which Lorenzo gladly offered.  We learned some facts about the creek and the farming area, but nothing extremely important.  More importantly, the farmer showed us a way back up to Santa Maria della Pieta.   The one fact he forgot to mention was the fact that there was an uphill climb that seemed like a 75-degree slope.  Half way up I took my flip-flops off so I can get a grip.  I eventually stopped towards the top to pull some people up and help them get to the top.  Although I was cut from all the wild thorn bushes and covered in dirt and sweat, everyone made it up and I felt accomplished that I made it up and was able to help people up.  Also I would like the throw in that Lorenzo is one light little guy, I almost threw him up the hill. All we both could do is laugh.


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