Young psychologist from Argentina Leandro Javier Lorusso is not just a regular tourist – he decided to use his vacation time in Dubrovnik for volunteering! He joined Dubrovnik Caritas and conquered the hearts of many with this selfless, human act. He shared his story with The Dubrovnik Times.
How did you decide to come to Dubrovnik? I wanted to visit Croatia since I made another two trips to Europe, but I didn’t get the chance. For this last trip I visited Bari, Italy, searching for my family roots (Lorusso). It was so near to Dubrovnik, just a ferry trip away, so I made the decision.
What made you join Dubrovnik Caritas? I was just walking around the city. I like to get lost in the streets while meeting a new place. And suddenly I saw the sign of Caritas on the building. It was open so I approached the guy that was standing there and asked if they need help.
What was your job? That day I met Marija and Sanja. They were so kind to me. They gave me a plate with food, water and a cake. I can buy my own food but it was a great feeling to be welcomed by an unknown person. I think it is similar to the feeling of the people that Caritas helps every day. And they told me to come the next morning. I worked with Drago and it was a pleasure to work with him. We made some baskets with food and cleaned the elements for the families in need.
Do you regret spending a part of your vacation volunteering? The holidays are often related to egocentric time for ourselves. I guess that’s a human need after working for a long time. But after few days and too much free time (it’s quite unusual for me), I started thinking about doing something useful. And when I saw a Caritas sign I thought that was a great opportunity.
What was your favourite part of this experience? I enjoyed all the time with the Caritas staff but I really loved the lunch time. Food was amazing and that was also the time to share experiences with all the staff. To get to know each other. Different stories with a same vocation of help.
How did you like Dubrovnik in general? I have never taken the bus in Dubrovnik. I walked all the time. So I enjoyed seeing the sea from the hills during my walks. The view of the city from each hill is beautiful.
Do you usually volunteer? I have done volunteer jobs but not regularly, couple of times with my work partners. It’s difficult to find time to do it, but this experience forces me to find that missing time.
What are your future plans? I have left Dubrovnik past Friday. Now I’m in Madrid. My trip is ending. I have my flight for Argentina 17/08. I will use this few days to think about what you asked :What are my plans for the future. I have a lot o ideas but I have to organize them. First, I have plans in my profession in my country - sports psychology and the use of sport for a good mental health. Second, I’d really like to get my master’s degree in Europe, but that’s a little bit difficult because I have a 10 year old daughter, Tatiana. Too much time apart could be difficult at that age. But possibility is there! The time will show me what’s the best decision.