A REALLY FANTASTIC VOYAGE
Instituto Pensi by José Luiz Setúbal
Fantastic Voyage is the name of my childhood movie written by the brilliant science fiction writer, Isaac Asimov, but it is also the name team Children’s Hospital Sabará has chosen for a project that suggested a weekend aimed at a volunteer social action done by José Luiz Egydio Setubal Foundation employees, composed of Hospital and PENSI institute.
All preparation started in March, when the first meeting with Edgar Gouveia Jr team took place, a social transformative and facilitator through actions called Oasis Project. During all these months, Sabará staff conducted motivational and provoking campaigns in order to keep the employees curious, without telling them what the mysterious “Fantastic Voyage” would be like. About a month ago, Edgard came to Hospital to give two motivational talks to convince people to take part in a social action somewhere. Both location and the action itself would be informed only on the action day.
During this preparation time we made contact with Tide Setúbal Foundation, our partner in a training daycare center employees project. The Foundation is initiating a very nice project called “LaPenna Garden Neighborhood Plan. Let’s think together!”.
More than 100 employees have signed up, some to go to the site, others to assist in logistics at the Hospital. For a few weeks they went out asking for donations of things like building material, books, flowers, etc., to be donated to the community.
Saturday, August 19, it was cold and rainy in São Paulo city, but at eight o’clock in the morning, there were already two buses full of excited people to go to such “Fantastic Voyage”. Buses were stocked with the collected materials, and things like raincoats, gloves, water and other items that would be used by volunteers in their action of transforming the social space in the Lapenna Garden community. On the buses, what was seen were only smiles and excitment to know where we would go and what we would do. After describing the offer, we were divided into groups, red group to a square, orange group to another, and the same way with the people who would help in the kitchen, others who would do the record, others who would raise funds and people among other functions.
Our work would consist in reorganizing two public and big spaces that should work as squares, but they were very damaged. The Subprefecture had been advised about the project, so it has helped by donating seats, tables and part of the flooring. In the Oasis project, the proposal would be a Scavenger hunt, no money should be used and we would have to do anything necessary to transform those damaged spaces in something “spectacular”. The idea that has impelled our work was: “Come what may, it has to be spectacular.”
The joint effort started under light rain and the temperature bellow 20°C, but deep inside each one, human warmth was intense and we have worked a lot to clean the squares. The goal was to involve local population to help us, and that came with donations of some materials like sand and gravel to make concrete, paint rollers and brushes, nails, screws, cables, ropes, flowers, plants, pots, tools like hoes, shovels, post hole diggers, power saw, manual saw, hammers, electric drills and everything else. Miracles happened on and on. Many garbage and rubble bags were removed by the City Hall department during collection.
At five o’clock in the afternoon, we met to have breakfast with some bread, butter and coffee and to go back to Sabará Hospital. Despite being so tired after 8 hours of physical hard work, the way back on the bus was full of happiness, wonderful stories exchange and smiling hearts.
On Sunday, at eight o’clock in the morning, some Saturday volunteers joined the Sunday volunteers, and then another full bus headed for LaPenna Garden. The weather looked better, there was a shy Sun, and an afternoon storm forecast.
We arrived and went to the squares to finish the work initiated on Saturday. After a celebration circle we were divided in two groups and we went to work.
In the small square I was working on, it was a surprise to find the residents who had housed the tools, cement and paints already working on the walls. It was another day of hard work and much participation from the people of the community and Sabará.
I decided to report this experience, because having more than 20% of employees, who have chosen to volunteer one or two days of their days off, on a cold and rainy weekend, to dedicate themselves to a needy community that they did not know and then, also see how that people from the community could get united to do things; these things have made this experience a Really Fantastic Voyage.
I want to end by thanking all who have participated and I take this opportunity to express my pride in chairing an Institution that has employees like you, with citizen attitudes, love for our neighbors and love for their town.
Thanks to all from Tide Setúbal Foundation who helped to make this weekend so special and to Edgard and Camila team who helped us to make it happen.
DR. JOSÉ LUIZ SETÚBAL Dr. José Luiz Setúbal (CRM-SP: 42.740) Pediatrician graduated in the Santa Casa de Misericórdia de São Paulo, with Specialization in the Universidade de São Paulo (USP) and Post-Graduation in Management in the UNIFESP. Bia, Gá and Olavo’s father. Tomás and David’s grandfather.