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My first time in Berlin was back in 1998. I was 15 and I took part in a cultural exchange. At that time I was too young to appreciate Berlin, so my first impression was not really a positive one. I came back in June 2013 to start my great adventure in Mercedes Benz Bank when I joined the Italian team to build the new Italy Retail Collection division. I am Italian, but from January 2011 to May 2013 I lived and worked in Ireland. After two years and half in the emerald island I needed a change, so here I was. Now, my perception of Berlin is completely different: I love Berlin and I cannot imagine a better place to live in.
Therefore it was a pleasure for me to join the „Day Of Caring“ and help making the city a bit more beautiful and nicely.
This was my first Day of Caring. Before taking part to it, I had developed an idea in my mind of what it could be, but after having taken part, I can say it was much more.
I have to admit that when I woke up in the morning and saw the cloudy sky, I was pretty concerned: the idea of spending eight hours under the rain was not really tempting. I arrived at work trying to figure out how could be the day and to be honest I was not really optimistic.
When I arrived at work, I changed my mind immediately. I found a very funny scenario: some colleagues were attentively comparing the quality of their raincoats, some others were still sleepy; some people were changing their clothes in a more combative way, some others were really dressed like Rambo in the jungle! I felt immediately relieved, there was a nice atmosphere and I thought that after all I would survive.
It was a great experience! I didn’t realized the importance of the project until I saw the neighbors reaction. I was completely overwhelmed by people happiness.
People came to us asking what we were doing, why we were there and when we explained why, they were so happy and grateful that it was impossible not to feel special.
There were kids hanging around who wanted to help us: they were 6-7 years old, but despite the early age, they wanted to give their contribution and so started to shout: “Können wir helfen???”. There were the elderly walking around watching our progress. Some of our volunteers went along with them through the different working areas to let them see what we were building. One of them stayed with us until the end and we found him again under the tent during the storm.
But the one who really impressed me was a mother: She was with her kid and she approached us asking again the reason why we were there. When we told her what we were doing, she stared at us with a deep glance of gratitude, she was touched. It was touching.
After lunch we were all tired, we had worked hardly in the morning and we were exhausted, but we continued. We couldn’t betray our new friends!!! We motivated and helped each other to finish our tasks. I had to take care of the playground area, helping to create a safer ground for the kids; but at the end I tried to help my colleagues as I could.
Everyone did their best to achieve the result and no one wanted to give up, not even when the storm started. Some volunteers were building a path with small stones and they didn’t move until the end. It was raining, the wind was unbelievable but they were there, unmovable: they wanted to complete the path.
I came back home with pain in parts of my body that I didn’t even know to have, but it was definitively worthwhile. The pain is gone, the memories are left.
About the “Day of Caring”
Daimler Financial Services contributes to social and cultural initiatives around the world. On the “Day of Caring”, employees are free to take part in social projects in their communities. In Berlin so far 9 projects were realized, among them the care of the Jewish cemetery last year, the renovation of the youth club KoCa (2012) or the commitment in the StreetUniverCity (2007 and 2008). Daimler Financial Services realized 13 „Days of Caring “ in Germany, world-wide already more than 80 as of today.