In memory of Carlo


In memory of Carlo

From Lia

26 years ago, my husband and I were in Bonga, Ethiopia. I was severely ill due to typhoid and was about to head to the other side... In a moment of wake, I saw in front of me two deep blue eyes and a long beard. I thought I was in front of St Peter; instead, it was Dr Carlo Spagnolli. He saved my life and we became a family. We travelled a lot and our families grew up together. We made 5 films together. We shared many battles, carrying out dozens of health-related projects, like cardiology in Zimbabwe. The latter came from his heart attack: in Harare, there was no oxygen tank. So once he recovered, he thought that everyone there must have easy access to a cardiology clinic. He was passionate about the formation of African doctors and the development of African health systems. He fought corruption, he was never neutral and always took sides with the most disadvantaged. He was a point of reference for so many people. His generosity was infinite: in his journeys, his bag was like the top hat of a magician, he had gifts for everyone - and for everyone he had the right gift, a mystery he never revealed. His enthusiasm for life, his curiosity, his love, were overwhelming, infecting everyone. He always talked about the difficulties after his wedding to Angelina, one of the first interracial marriages in Trentino. Fr Italo Piffer celebrated it and still remembers running after the ox for the feast. Carlo and Angelina shared a grate love which overcame discriminations and difficulties, and it is so visible in their children Elisa, Giovanni and Francesco. During a trip, he never complained and brought us to discover hidden worlds. I saw him crying many times in front of other people's suffering. In the last few years, he contributed to the creation of Aurora Vision, because he believed in the necessity to communicate solidarity. He never missed a screening and always helped us with valuable advice. Our young collaborators saw in him a north star.
Carlo was a man of immense culture and preparation in so many fields: medicine, politics, history, botanic, geology, astronomy, geography. He saved thousands of human lives: from arrow wounds in Uganda to bullet wounds in Eritrea, and AIDS in Zimbabwe. Carlo was a man of the future, never looking back except when he had to learn from history. His ecological commitment started decades back, with real actions and the creation of many natural parks in Africa. A real missionary, with a deep faith, never superficial. He read all the available theology, attracted from writers like Bonhoeffer. Every poor person was at the centre of his attention and his medical care. Carlo was a man of his land, an Alpine person always contemplating mountains, attracted by peaks and rocks: he became full of light whenever he was in front of his mountains. Carlo was the greatest hero.

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