Order of Malta CARAVAN - “because people who decide to do this project gotta be cool”
Despite being a well-known project in the Order I often recognize a lack of knowledge when it comes to the details of this wonderful project. I decided therefor to add a testimonial of one of our volunteers. It explains CARAVAN from the view of someone who participated and gives a good and short insight to the project.
“So, the question I was asked to answer for this blog was, how I’ve experienced the time as Caravan in Lebanon.
And the answer is quite simple: Awesome!
Seriously, it was so far one of the best times in life I was able to experience.
Well, to understand my enthusiastic statement let me explain what made it so special for me. Working with people, that actually need you and rely on you was an experience I’ve never made before. In opposite, during school time I felt kind of useless for the society I was privileged to live in, not doing anything and still getting spoiled by the state, my parents etc. Suddenly there were boys and girls waiting for you, expecting you or, even if they were too handicapped to remember you, joyfully surprised about your presence and care. That filled me with a feeling of joy and meaning that I think not many of young people are able to experience. And it also brought me a lot closer to the understanding of Christian faith and love. Things that might sound like empty phrases, but I believe these experiences with the handicapped boys and girls made me understand some of the key points of Christianity and definitely deepened my faith in God.
Living together in a group of twelve different young people sometimes seems hard. We were eight boys and four girls, all living together 24-hours a day for more than 10 month. Arguments and critical situations were inevitable, but so were the beautiful and happy moments we lived through together and that definitely made up most of our time. Living in this group taught me a lot of personal skills, of dealing with other opinions and intentions, of explaining my own views, of accepting and understanding others. And all these things bond us together and created friendships that I could have barely imagined before and left so many marvelous moments, from wonderful services we did together, over fantastic nights out, till an incredible trip we made to Jordan. It made me find true friends I can rely on and I’ll hardly find that easy ever again.
The third and last main aspect I want to mention is the education we were lucky to enjoy. Apart from an Arabic course which is compulsory the first month and voluntarily afterwards, we went to St. Joseph University in order to take courses in “History, Culture and Religion of the Middle East and Lebanon”. As I was quite interested in the whole struggle the Middle East unfortunately is stuck in these courses gave me great back-up knowledge about politics, historical and also cultural background. It helped me a lot to understand current developments and changes, and got me a completely new perspective to look at geopolitics, media and history.
Well, the points I’ve just mentioned are only a rough overlook that might give you a slight impression of the Caravan and my experiences. If i’d try to tell everything in detail, I could probably write my own book.
But I can tell you, the opportunity to live in one of the most beautiful and exciting countries of the world, in such an astonishing surrounding, doing something meaningful and good, together with other cool people (“because people who decide to do this project gotta be cool”) was one of the best choices I’ve made in my life and I benefit daily from all my wonderful experiences.”
A volunteer from CARAVAN Team No. 7, 2013
I am happy to hand out more information if asked. Please contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org or find more information on www.orderofmalta-caravan.org