I thought seeing the first meeting involving the community last week was a great experience. It was awesome to see how many people came and that they were all involved in the meeting, by making their opinions known vocally or in participating in the activities with the post it notes. To be honest, I wasn’t expecting there to be as many people as there were. I don’t know why I thought this, I guess I’m just not so used to seeing people so invested in their community in this way. This made me a bit more excited to continue working on this project at the site because I realized that it will make a difference in the community and people will enjoy it in the future.
With all this being said though, I still felt like an outsider at the meeting. This wasn’t just in the sense of language, which is obvious, but I also feel like it isn’t my place to decide what these people need in their neighborhood. After all, this is where they live and I have only been here for a month so I don’t know what they would need or want. For instance, if someone came into my neighborhood and decided what they wanted to do to enhance the area, I may not be so happy. These thoughts show how important community involvement will be in this process and that the meeting last week was a good stepping stone for this.
One other quick thing I’d like to mention is that at the meeting, some of us met a couple who are originally from New Orleans but now live in Borgo Bello. Just meeting somebody from the U.S. who now live in this neighborhood in Perugia was awesome and kind of put me at ease and made me more comfortable. It was also really good to see that they love where they live now and want to be involved in this project. I hope we continue to see them at the meetings and in the area!