Looking after others when your own future is not secure
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Letter to Friends around the World # 78

Geoffroy, works with children and families in a village near Bangui.  In January 2011, he participated in the international meeting of young people "Together for others" in the Central African Republic, as part of the International Youth Year.

This meeting enabled me to understand the meaning of an adventure I launched into quite a few years ago, when I had absolutely no idea what I was looking for or where I was going. 

I was completing my vocational training, and needed to find an internship to start work, but as I received a call, my decision changed; I decided to settle down in the village.  My parents did not understand, and in fact neither did I.  I was still very young, I didn't know what I was looking for.  I stayed there with the young people, offering them my help, and sharing their life.  My parents used to ask me: "Is that really what you want to do, just being with these young people in the village where there is nothing?"

A little later on, with a Caritas group, I helped very deprived families in their daily lives.  My father had stopped coming to see me; he didn't understand, but I felt like I was part of a family.

Then for three years, in one of Mother Theresa's associations, I got involved in musical activities, dance and singing with orphans suffering from psychological problems.  I was very touched by these meetings that I could never miss.  I had to stay at the side of these children.  But I was asking myself, "Geoffroy, what are you looking for? Maybe it's time now to turn towards a working life." But just two or three months later I met Joachim and Elie who told me about ATD Fourth World....and just when I thought I was going to "be free" of them, there I was once more working with children: Tapori children!

During this "Together for others" gathering I understood at last that this adventure was not in vain, that I was not wasting my time.  I really found the strength to continue supporting these families that have the knowledge and experience to build a world with more solidarity.

These orphans were rejected yesterday, but today they are working, and they say, "Hello Sir, and thank you!" yet although people think I am school teacher, this is not the case!  It is thanks to the friendship and solidarity we offered them, that these children can enter working life and contribute to development. Today they in turn are building this friendship and solidarity, and this I find most touching.

Geoffroy, Central African Republic