La Salle Boys’ Home, in Iasi , Romania, is a home for boys in need: Orphans, children of rural families with few resources, those at risk of dropping out of school, those with difficult family situations, and other at risk children
CasArcobaleno, in Naples, Italy, seeks to offer young people the services which they most need: a second chance for students who have dropped out of school, English lessons, support for young women and mothers, fellowship, educational classes, sports and cultural activities, and homework assistance
I was excited to see in what ways I would grow as a person through faith, community, and service as I was preparing to leave for Romania. The immense amount of religiosity here in Romania has made me think about the role that religion plays in my own life and if I am happy with this role or not. Religion seems to provide many of the boys here with an identity and sense of belonging, which they have struggled to find elsewhere given their socioeconomic status and family situations. Is this the role that religion serves for me?
The language barrier has been especially challenging, and at times makes me feel a little lost and like I’m not being as helpful as I could be. However, this is a good opportunity to push myself to improve my Italian skills! Meeting new people and not being able to fully converse with them is difficult, and requires my introverted self to step out of my comfort zone quite a bit in order to find an effective way to communicate. This has been a little bit of a challenge, but it’s definitely a good one!
Br. Iosif is pretty much the only one watching the boys so our help is at times very critical for him. Unlike the Brothers in Cambodia, he asks for the help which I love. Br. Iosif seems so exhausted at the end of the day and sometimes I wish we can do more. In this experience, I’m with the boys for the most of the day. Let’s just say it is a different type of tired at the end of the day. This is where my LSI experience has really helped me. I been looking at every positive and negative as an experience.
Before I left for Naples, I believe that I had a pretty fixed image of my personality and my abilities. I saw myself as a very introverted, thoughtful, adventure-loving person. However, after reflecting on these past four weeks, I realized that this idea of myself was a way for me to set limits on myself. I thought my view of myself as an introverted person came from an understanding of myself but I think that it was more likely an excuse for me to feel comfortable.
And now I also know that being more outspoken and confident in myself has not influenced my relationships with others in any negative way but actually makes me feel like I am able to be more invested and share more of myself with the community.