The Italian portion of the trip began with a 7 hour car ride from Ljubljana to Assisi. I was able to spend the next few days at the Assisi School which now serves 24 students, ages 3-12. The classrooms are located in a small, two-story building that has spectacular views of the surrounding countryside. As I looked out that first morning, the thought came, “St. Francis and his disciples walked through these same hills”. Those holy vibrations provide a fitting backdrop for the current set of high souls. I was especially touched by the sparkling bright eyes of many of the children and began thinking about Swami’s ideas for a rite-of-passage ceremony for pre-adolescents. In the USA I’d found the energy didn’t flow easily around this idea, but here it moved like a river cascading downstream with 4 girls and 3 boys eager to take part in the initial ceremony. Swami’s comment on the ceremonies was that they marked an historic moment for Ananda.
My next stop was Jesi, a town about an hour to the east, close to the Adriatic Sea. Jesi is the home of Santoshi and Uddyama, two wonderful souls who are deeply committed to EFL. The school opened last September with five founding students ages 3-8. I was especially interested in visiting, since this is our most recent attempt to get an EFL school started outside of the existing Ananda communities.
My public talk in Jesi coincided with the arrival of the brand new, Italian version of my book “Educazione per Gioia” (English title: For Goodness’ Sake). It was an enthusiastic launch with over 60 people in attendance. My tour around Italy continued for the next week with additional talks in Milan, Rome, Guald Tadino, and a final weekend workshop back in Assisi. Total attendance for all the events was around 250. In addition to connecting with educators, the talks should help launch a few more chapters of Families for a New Tomorrow with the Assisi group having their first meeting on the Sunday before I left.
Over all, it was a blessed trip. There is a lot of interest in EFL around Europe with many young people wanting to become EFL teachers. I hope to see several of them at the college this fall, but realize we also need to create training opportunities here in Europe. There is much good work to do.