A Mexican volunteer in Belgium (1)svi_belgique
José Luis is a Mexican EVS volunteer who arrived a few time ago in Brussels to work with our partner association, L’Arche. For 5 months, he is going to help support adults with disabilities and discover cultural differences between Mexico and Belgium which can sometimes be surprising. In this first part, he tells us about his arrival and experience as an international volunteer in the centre he is currently working in.
If you asked me to describe myself in a few words, I wouldn’t be able do it. In my opinion, you should never fragment your personality and destroy your very essence. As human society, we are a whole entity and one day we will realise that we only have one earth. When that time comes, we will leave out individualism which destroys everything in its path.
I left home on a Tuesday to venture into the unknown. There was no way I could be prepared for what was to come. Indeed, every trip you take opens up a new chapter in your life which then leads you to adventure. My travel to come here has been difficult, really difficult I must say. Actually, long before catching my flight to the Old Continent, I faced several administrative and personal problems that almost made me give up on my project.
My trip began in Zinapécuaro, a small area located in the Mexican state of Michoacán. That is where I began the first part of my journey to adventure. My father, who is the person I admire most in the world especially for his strength and commitment, was by my side. In spite of all the ordeals he went through, he has never lost faith or his will to keep struggling. He was in charge of bringing me to the closest train station to take the bus. So, this is where I began my two-day long trip.
Crossing the Atlantic Ocean to go to Brussels has probably been one of the best decisions I have ever made in my life. It allowed me to discover a place where people experience community life and create brotherhood bonds on a daily basis. It is also a place where our differences bring us closer together and where being “special” is something ordinary. Eventually, this is a new family working towards each of its member’s well-being.
Without a shadow of a doubt, my experience has been a pleasant one from the very first moment I set foot in this kingdom full of eccentricities and bicycles. Getting off the plane in a city where you are going to spend several months of your life generates both fear of the unknown and a burning desire to discover this new world. During my first days, I worked, collaborated and built with the other members of the centre Le Grain. I had a very good time and I hope it will stay this way throughout my project.
I realised that being different from each other is enriching unlike the so-called equality the media use to show us through models illustrating what is acceptable in society. During my first few days here, I learnt how important it is to be unique, to give love and to make people smile. I realised that all we all feel love, that we all have to deal with difficulties but keep struggling every day to make our dreams come true. I think it is definitely worth mentioning the fact that there is a strong sense of community within the association in which I’m developing my project. Here, individualism is not the cause of the differences between each other. Actually, the aim is to build something together as a community oriented towards integrating every single person who wishes from deep in her heart being a part of this big family.
People with different abilities we call in my country and in Belgium disabled people have showed me that they are sometimes more than able to feel compassionate, to give love and be friendly than people we see as normal.
People I’m working with are so pure in heart that it seems to me that they are unique. In some ways, we could learn from them how important it is reveal our true selves and colours without any preconceptions. This new centre where I undertake my activities day after day has provided me a unique perspective on the different ways by which you can touch and change a heart, a soul and a human being, above all. It is a different way to see the world in which we evolve in.