Sunday, April 06, 2008

When Things Don't Go According to Our Plan By Genesee McCarthy

Last year at around this time I began the application process for postgrad service. I did extensive searches and found a program that I fell in love with. Their sites, their mission…everything about it seemed perfect. It had a very lengthy application that involved writing pages and pages of personal essays but I knew it would be worth it. In April I got a call from them about setting up an interview. I was so excited! I remember preparing for the interview and feeling like this was so right, this is exactly where God wants me to be, I just knew this was the program for me. And then they called and instead of interviewing me, told me they thought I wasn’t ready for international service.

I was extremely heartbroken. I had to rethink all my plans and motivations. The belief that I could live abroad was shaken to the core.

After that I still wanted to do service, but I concentrated more on school and writing my senior thesis. At graduation I still had no idea what I was going to be doing in the fall. I was lucky enough to stumble across two other programs that also had sites I was interested in and whose applications were not nearly so long. I applied to them both and waited without too much hope.

I went back home for the summer and picked up a babysitting job to fill my time and take my mind off of not knowing what I would be doing. I ended up hearing from both programs within a day.

After phone interviews with the two programs, one really stood out. The interview was great, a nice, honest chat, and at the end the director told me they wanted to send me to
Bolivia. I went to a month long orientation from July to August and I left September 8th.

I had looked over this volunteer group at first because the website seemed a little outdated and there wasn’t too much info online. But I am so glad that I ended up applying because it is the perfect place for me. I am at an orphanage with over 100 girls in a small town in
Western Bolivia that has been receiving volunteers for almost 20 years. The nuns that work here are so much fun. They have incorporated the volunteers into the daily life at the orphanage and really depend on us. It’s great having a set job and knowing what is expected of me. Also, the community is so used to having volunteers that we were incorporated with open arms right from the beginning.

I absolutely love being here and feel so blessed that I didn’t give up and found the perfect program for me.

Gen with some of the older girls she works with in Bolivia.

(The program that I found is the Salesian Lay Missioners. They are sponsored by the Salesians of Don Bosco and the website is:

No comments: