When I was accepted to the Tevel Fellowship I was thrilled. I felt that I could not only volunteer and help others but also expand my own horizons at the same time.
When I arrived at Tevel’s house in Bujumbura, I was expected the internationals fellows to live separately from us (the national/Burundian fellows). I was surprised and happy to discover that we would all be living together. I feel it’s very special that we are sharing the same living conditions, eating the same food, cooking together, sleeping in the same rooms (both in the city and in the village), studying together and not only meeting each other for “business”. It makes me feel connected to the internationals directly, feel that we are on the same level and that’s what make us partners.
During our first week of orientation together, we got an assignment to share our life story with one of the international fellows. I took Lior to meet my family, to visit Right to Play, an NGO I was volunteering with before and to discover the city of Bujumbura. It was an opportunity to share my story for real and to help him get to know me and Burundi better. It also made me feel open to sharing my experiences and that somebody cares about me. That’s really important for me because my story is a hard one. When I share it I feel a sense of relief- it’s like my therapy. I hope the story can make others appreciate what they have, accept who they are, and gain experience that can help them in the future.
It’s only been a month since the Tevel Fellowship started and already I have had a lot of fun, made new friends, told and heard stories and gained experiences and knowledge. I hope the next nine months will be challenging, special and full of meaning.
Pascal NDAYISENGA, Tevel Fellow 2014-15