My name is Godefroy, I’m french and I was 22 when I volunteered in Nepal. I was doing civil engineering studies in Lyon, France, when I took the opportunity to take a year off and to come in Nepal for working with NJSI. My point was to take some time away from my country in order to serve freely others at my best and to step back from my life.
When I was seeking for NGOs to send me away, I had the chance to meet with INIGO, a French Jesuit organization, which was offering the type of volunteer experience I wanted: being sent abroad in partnership with a local Jesuit structure in which you are welcomed and integrated, all this along with a spiritual dimension. That is how I met with the Nepal Jesuit Social Institute and its director, father Roy. The aim was to come and work with NJSI from 15th February to 15th July in all their activities. It means that I was going to help them in the construction sector, in which I’m qualified, as much as the education sector, in which I’m still an apprentice. But I was really motivated to do all my best and to share my experience with the Institute.
Before my coming in Nepal, I didn’t know much what I will be asking to do. My mission was to adapt myself to the situation and to share my skills with the others. Then, I was a little anxious about my ability to fit within the Institute. Indeed, I was a student from a far different country who was asking to work with experienced people from the country.
As soon as I arrived, my anxiety went away. I was kindly welcomed by the Jesuit community and the NJSI staff. I wasn’t treat as a foreigner but as a member of the NJSI family. It may be normal for some people but it was as uncommon as incredible for me. I quickly integrated myself into the institute and worked with both the construction and the training team. It was a completely new environment for me with a lot of experiences.
Among the experiences I had, I spent three weeks in Chapadi (Rakathum, Ramechhap) for the construction of an irrigation system for farmers, I helped to conduct a Personal Development Camp in Baleshwori School (Lalitpur), I assisted in writing administrative documents for new project and I developed an Excel database to ease the monitoring of projects. Each experience was a challenge and an apprenticeship. Consequently, my stay in Nepal was enriching and challenging. I also learnt a lot from NJSI staff members. Their professionalism and their way of doing were a great help.
I will always remember the kindness and the excellent hospitality of Nepali people. Everywhere I went, they welcomed me very well and treat me as a honour guest. Their joyfulness and their willingness to share with you surprised me in a very nice way. Besides, the NJSI team was always supporting me in the activities, providing me an atmosphere in which I always felt in my proper place.
I’m grateful to all the people I met and with whom I could share memorable times. I especially thank the Jesuit community who welcomed me – Fr. Anil, Fr. Arul, Fr. Thomas and Fr. Roy – together with the NJSI team – Arbind, Arush, Kamal, Lawrence, Palpasa, Ram Hari, Shristi, Smriti and Tika Ram. I keep you in my heart and my prayers and I hope I will see you again during an upcoming travel. धेरै धेरै धन्यवाद !!