Il-Birgu jiċċelebra l-anzjani "f'SURVIVORS" / Birgu celebrates Survivors (Friday 6th November, 2009)


Il-Kunsill Lokali tal-Birgu organizza serata speċjali għall-protagonisti tal-ktieb “Survivors – The Ageing Population of Birgu” ta’ Joe P. Smith. Għal din l-okkażjoni, l-Kunsill stieden lill-anzjani li l-istejjer tagħhom dehru fil-ktieb jew il-familjari tal-protagonisti li llum ma baqgħux magħna, u ppreżentalhom kopja tal-ktieb, filwaqt li rringrazzjahom tas-sehem li taw fil-proġett sħiħ.

 

L-okkażjoni memorabbli u emottiva ġabet flimkien il-fotografu, Joe P. Smith, l-anzjani li dehru fil-ktieb u li għadhom ġajjin u l-familjari tagħhom.

 

F’din l-okkażjoni l-fotografu kellu l-oppotunita li jerġa' jiltaqa’ ma’ dawn in-nies li bejn l-2003 u l-2006, laqgħuh f’darhom u qasmu miegħu l-esperjenzi ta’ ħajjithom.

 

Wara diskors qasir minn Joe P. Smith u mill-istoriku Lino Bugeja, s-Sindku tal-Birgu, John Boxall, irringrazzja lil kulħadd tal-appoġġ tagħhom. Is-Sindku wera r-rikonoxximent tiegħu lejn l-awtur li welled din l-idea u li ppersevera sakemm il-proġett ġie ffinalizzat, minkejja d-diffikultajiet li kellu jgħaddi minnhom. Is-Sur Boxall iddiskriva din il-ġenerazzjoni ta’ anzjani bħala t-teżor veru tal-Birgu u qal li hu xieraq li l-wirt tagħhom qed ikun imfakkar fil-ktieb. Tenna jgħid li l-ktieb, apparti li hu nteressanti ħafna biex taqrah, se jispira u jservi ta’ eżempju tajjeb għall-ġenerazzjonijiet li jmiss.

 

L-ewwel persuna li rċieva l-kopja tal-ktieb mis-Sindku kien Peppi Gellel ta’ 104 sena, l-iktar raġel anzjan li deher fil-ktieb. Minkejja l-eta’ venerabbli tiegħu, Peppi għadu attiv fil-komunita u hu ta’ ispirazzjoni għal kulħadd.

 

 

Ir-riċeviment li segwa kien opportunita biex il-protagonisti jiftakru u jitkellmu dwar dawn l-aħħar sitt snin u jieħdu ritratti mal-awtur li fl-istess waqt iffirmalhom l-kopja tal-ktieb tagħhom.

 

Meta kien mistoqsi dwar kif iħossu issa li l-ħolma ta’ sitt snin sħaħ immaterjalizzat, Joe P. Smith qal li l-ktieb intlaqa’ sew, “Kien hemm xi problemi iżda ridt nagħti xi ħaġa lura lil dawn in-nies straordinarji u għalhekk komplejt il-proġett. Kienet xi ħaġa emozzjonali meta tara l-familjari ta’ dawk li diġa ħallewna taqbżilhom demgħa, huma u jaraw ir-ritratti tal-maħbubin tagħhom. Meta wara ġew biex jirringrazzjawni personalment talli ppreservajt il-memorja tagħhom, ħassejt li l-isforz u x-xogħol li sar kien iġġustifikat.”

 

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The Birgu Local Council organized a special evening for the residents featured in the book "Survivors – The Ageing Population" by Joe P. Smith.

 

Birgu Local Council invited all those featured in the book or their immediate families in the case of the former having since passed away, and presented them with a copy of the book, thanking them for the important part they played in the whole project.

 

This memorable and emotive occasion brought together the photographer, Joe P. Smith, those featured in the book and who are still alive, and their family members. It provided the photographer with the opportunity to meet the extraordinary people who between 2003 and 2006 welcomed him into their homes and shared their life experiences with him.

 

After a short introductory speeches by Joe P. Smith and historian Lino Bugeja, Birgu Mayor, Mr John Boxall, thanked everyone for their cooperation. The Mayor singled out the author who gave birth to the whole idea and persevered to finalize the project, in spite of various difficulties along the way. Mr Boxall described this ageing generation as the real treasure of Birgu and said that it was fitting that their legacies have now been preserved in a book. He added that, whilst being extremely interesting to read, the book will inspire and provide a good example to future generations.

 

The first person to receive his copy from the Mayor was 104 year old Peppi Gellel, the oldest citizen featured in the book. In spite of his age he is still very active in the community and is an inspiration to his fellow citizens.

 

 

 

The reception which followed provided the perfect opportunity for all the protagonists to reminisce about the last six years, as well as have pictures taken with the author and have their books signed.

 

When asked how he feels now that his six year old dream has materialized, Mr Smith said that the response was overwhelming, “There were some bumps along the way but I had to give these extraordinary people something back, so I plodded on. It was quite emotional see relatives of those who have since passed away shed a tear or two when they came face to face with the photographs of their loved ones. When they then came up to me to personally thank me for having preserved their memories, it made it all worthwhile”.