What is a Compassionate community?
2022-03-24 Palma By Shirley Roberts
A trip to Palma on the bus, experimenting for the day when it will be too expensive to drive the car. Soller buses are in good shape at present with a new fleet and an increased timetable. It is no hardship to use this service if your destination is the centre of Palma.
My walking route was ‘right’ out of the bus station and the main road until I branched off right into the Calle Blanquerna.
This is a favourite area for a wander for me, full of odd shops, cafes and restaurants. In my time here the through route has been paved and it is a giant pedestrianised area leading up to the Escorxador district. This is all in the North of Palma and crosses the Bons Aires Barrio. This is a hugely populated area full of apartments and new build which took all this land from farmland, plus the slaughter house, back in the day. We all love the cinemas at Escorxador and look forward to re – opening of the fabulous Street food market.
My ‘Nan’s Day Out’ was there because I was meeting other Nan’s who were telling me of the high accolade this area has received. It has been awarded the status of being one of the first ‘Compassionate Communities’ in the Balearics.
They heard the word, in this area, of Karen Armstrong, Founder of the global movement, ‘The Charter for Compassion’. She said ‘A compassionate city is an uncomfortable city! A city that is uncomfortable when anyone is homeless or hungry. Uncomfortable if every child isn’t loved and given rich opportunities to grow and thrive. Uncomfortable when as a community we don’t treat our neighbours as we would wish to be treated.’
Many of us admire the work in our own localities and answer the calls for help when we hear them. Otherwise we are content to leave the work to the Social Services departments and the Red Cross. In the Blanquerna that is not enough, they have signed up to their understanding of a ‘Compassionate Community’.
What is a Compassionate community?
A sensitive and attentive community towards the suffering of its neighbours in situations of unwanted loneliness, advanced illness, end of life or bereavement.
An empathetic community, which resonates with the suffering of others.
A community willing to act to reduce and alleviate this suffering.
Just a few years ago ‘PalmaCompasiva’ was born.
It is part of the “ Compassionate Cities ” movement .
They want to provoke a necessary social revolution by Awakening consciences.
Giving visibility to vulnerable people.
Involving the community in accompanying and caring.
PalmaCompasiva seeks to recover neighbourhood solidarity be creating a support network caring for people in need.
In the Blanquerna they found a group of people who agreed that this was needed in their Barrio. Too many people disappearing into high rise buildings with no-one knowing their needs. Today the community is coming alive with care.
All the community needed was a nudge and encouragement to lift their eyes and see what is actually going on around them. This area has a vibrant night life but in the day many have a solitary wander to pick up groceries or to sit alone in one of the cafes. A smile , a chat and awareness of who they can involve if all does not seem to be well.
These three precepts have started a movement here. This is why they have been proudly acknowledged as the first area in Palma to be welcomed as a ‘Compassionate Community’.
The dynamic team at PalmaCompasiva would love to tell you more about this initiative – palmacompasiva.org.
I left with many questions about how this can be rolled out everywhere. We are looking for this neighbourhood to teach us all they learn.
A walk along the backroads and more new shop discoveries like the fabulous Re-Read second hand bookshop. A quick diversion in there to the English section then it was back on the bus to the mountains. An unusual and very thought provoking, Nan’s Day Out.