Friday April 27, 2012
Bonjour…. everyone, this is Aicha and Nayum, reporting from France. This is our last blog and we are writing it together. Today is Friday, the last full day we will have spent in France, an entire week thanks to the French Embassy in Washington DC, Global Potential and PlaNet Finance.
I am writing as Aicha about Nayum and my experience!
First today, Sarah G. and I went to a restaurant named Buffalo in République, and we met Romano Collard, who used to be part of GP in 2009 in New York and 2011 in Boston. He is now an active member of GP France. Today I had the chance to finally meet him and we updated him with all we have been up to so far with GP. By the way he is really funny. And let’s not forget, the pretty and very close friend and GP Program Coordinator, Sarah Marie, who also was with us.
Meanwhile this good handsome bro GP colleague of mine name Nayum was in La Cournueve with Hamo, a GP youth fellow in GP France, and they headed to the Mosque in La Courneuve. When the prayer was over, Nayum said he realized how much prayer he missed in the last 3 months. Something that he thought was interesting was the fact the Mosque here did not have any signs outside to show that it was a mosque, compared to in the US where it’s evident when a building is a Mosque due to signs on the outside. It was a great cultural experience to pray in a Mosque in La Courneuve compared to Mosques in New York and even in Bangladesh where Nayum is originally from.
After the prayer session, and that I went to Buffalo, Sarah G. and I went to an entrepreneur’s office to have a discussion to raise funds for GP. His name is Joseph Machiah for an interview about GP. Throughout the interview, I was filming and I also answered a few questions. At the end of the conversation, Joseph said that he would donate to GP 3000 euros. That was a huge success interview! What a generous and interesting man. He even wrote a book called “La Bible de l’Entrepreneur”. I think he saw in GP an interesting model for an organization.
Sarah G and I then walked to our office of Planet Finance to meet up with Nayum, Sarah Marie and two other new interns: Sonia and Mohamed, who will be with us in GP France for a month and a half and are from La Courneuve and Aubervilliers.
That night, we had dinner with Sarah G’s parents and brother, who were so nice they took us out to one of their most favorite Lebanese restaurants. We ate Lebanese food for the first time and we did not even know this country existed, so I guess you learn something everyday. Merci à la famille de Sarah G!
When we think back about the first day we stepped foot in France and today, so much has happened. We met the new youth from GP France, and we fell in love with each and every one of them. We realize how amazing people are here, in GP large family worldwide, from the workshops, to the presentations, to the food experiences and prayer moments.
After experiencing a new country, and different points of view, we have to say it was one hell of a fantastic week journey. If we had to do it over again, “je dirais qu’on devrait se preparer à tout mais rien attendre” (we should prepare everything but not have any expectations either). The unexpected makes everything more challenging and a new experience more worth it than anything else. There are so many thing that we have seen here that are similar and different from the USA. Our perspective on the youth in France is that they seem to have a huge interest in GP and they really want to travel and still are connected to GP. Given that it’s a new program though, in so many ways, it can be scary especially the travel experience to Latin America and the Caribbean. They still find time within all there busy schedule to be committed to GP though. We hope from the bottom of our hearts that we were able to at least convince 5 students to travel with us this summer. And let’s keep GP France on growing!!
Here Nayum and I are leading an icebreaker with GP France youth:
Thank you to all who have made this experience possible for us: Sarah G, Frank, Margot, Niki, Sarah Marie, PlaNet Finance (Jérôme, Joel, Hanan, Cécile), l’Ambassade de France à Washington DC (Ambassadeur Delattre, Mme Sérot-Almeras), l’Ambassade des Etats-Unis en France (Rafik Mansour, Herbie Hancock), Rob Sitbon for lending us his camera, Joseph Machiah for his donation, Sarah G’s family Bob, Sandra and Mike, Margot’s mom Marie-Anne Chazel, and all GP youth in France: Yasmine, Célia, Hamo, Amadou, Ibou, Al Hassan, Sofiane, Ingrid, Farah, Faoulat, Kariima, Driss, Aidat, Chandran, Islame and Dehmaine
Posted by Aicha