From the Aiglon Magazine, Issue 8
"Last year, I travelled to Kibungo, in Rwanda, to teach at a school and help at a local orphanage. On the second day of the trip, a large truck drove into the orphange compound and all the children ran towards it to unload huge buckets of water. But instead of drinking anything, they formed groups so they could bring the water first to the elderly house, then to the kitchen, then to the bathroom. Their sense of unity was truly inspiring.
When I look back at my time at Aiglon, it’s this project and another – teaching French every week to Syrian and Afghani refugees back here in Switzerland – which I feel have changed me. I wanted to try and give to people directly, to go to people and help them. We have five Guiding Principles, and the two I hadn’t explored much were service and diversity. These two projects helped me explore those principles. In Rwanda, I realised how lucky I was compared to those people, with everything I possessed. Yet I felt that some people, even with the little they had, were really happy. We want to have more and more, but it is possible to be happy with so little.
Likewise, when teaching refugees, I heard stories about how their brothers and sisters had died in bombings in Afghanistan or in Syria, and how they had been forced to leave their homes. They had to leave everything behind and yet they remained so strong on the inside. I learned that it’s important not to judge someone when you don’t know their full story, where they came from and what they have experienced. And I made unexpected friends, too: in particular, a little boy in the orphanage. Meeting him made me understand that this project wasn’t just one where I’d make other people happy, but where I would find happiness, too."
Andrea Giordano (St Louis, 2017)