Welcome your excellencies, members of parliament, distinguished guests, family and friends and all those of you who came to celebrate this occasion.
An occasion so important in my life and in the life of my other friends who will be joining me in this new experience...
Today, we are here to celebrate the official opening of our new home, Akwarell*.
To mark this occasion, I wish to share some of my thoughts about what this means to me.
At present, Akwarell is just a building. But, I hope, together with my friends, we will turn this building into a home, in the best senses of the word. I think that the name we have chosen for this house: 'Akwarell', expresses how we want this home to be a place to express who we are both as individuals and as a community.
Indeed, in the same way an artist would paint the akwarel, we hope this building will serve us to express our best colours but, at the same time, create something that we could only create with one another. A community of friends.
However, what Akwarell means goes even beyond that. Akwarell is a place where we can be more independent. Here, it's important to explain what I mean by independence.
Independence does NOT mean we will do everything on our own. Independence does NOT mean we don't need anybody any longer. Independence means being able to make our own choices. Independence means having the necessary help and support to fulfil our full potential. And, in truth, no one in society can live on his/her own. We all need each other in life.
There are many people whom we must thank for making all this possible, each in our different way.
For my part I must thank my parents and all my family, my friends and my work-mates at KNPD. If it hadn't been for all of you, I would not be here today.
However, today was only possible because of the work carried out by pioneers such as Mons Azzopardi who wanted to give us, disabled people, back our life and dignity. Mons Azzopardi who also helped change the Church's approach to disability from a question of false charity to one of social responsibility. I must also thank those who followed in his footsteps at Id-Dar tal-Providenza, Mons. Gatt and Fr Martin Micallef.
I think that my friends who will be moving in Akwarell in the coming days will agree with me when I say that we are indebted to all those of you who continue to help and support us to achieve the best possible quality of life.
I trust in your continued support.
Thank you all!
Have a good day...
FootnotesAs explained in my last entry Meditations in Watercolor, last Thursday, I participated in an activity to inaugurate the official opening of our new home at Qawra. I explained how I was asked to be one of the speakers for the occasion - especially since I‚ll be one of the ones who will be living there for the forthcoming future. Since some have expressed the wish to get an idea of what my speech was about, I have decided to share the text I used as a guide in document for my speech. Incidentally, I would later discover that November 22 was also Thanksgiving in the US, so it‚Äôs a speech appropriate to mark such a day - which was, in a sense, an occasion of expressing my thanks and gratitude for the opportunity to live more independently.
*The word "Akwarell" is the Maltese word meaning "water-colour painting".