News from Maison de la Gare

She Changed Lives

Phincho Sherpa shares her experience as a Maison de la Gare volunteer

As I look back on my time at Maison de la Gare, I am filled with a profound sense of gratitude and wonder. From the beginning, I knew that this experience would be transformative, but I had never anticipated just how much it would enrich my life. I want to share with you the small moments, from shared meals to the heartfelt conversations, that have shaped my time at Maison de la Gare.

During the initial three days as I familiarized myself with the organization and its amazing team, I realized that Maison de la Gare is so much more than meets the eye. Behind the modest exterior, there exists a vibrant community of dedicated individuals working tirelessly to make a difference in the lives of the talibés. It was awe-inspiring to witness their unwavering commitment and passion.

Eager to connect with each person on a deeper level, I approached them with an open heart and a genuine desire to understand their stories. To my delight, they warmly welcomed me into their lives, some even extending invitations to share meals in their homes. These moments of eating from a big plate with everyone became more than just meals; they became gateways to cultural exchange and bonding. As we sat together sharing traditional Senegalese dishes and engaging in lively conversations, I gained a profound appreciation for the richness of their culture and the interconnectedness of our global human experience.

Each day I spent the first half of the morning in the microfinance department, interviewing potential borrowers. I listened intently to their dreams, hopes, and struggles. Each story became a powerful reminder of the resilience and determination that can be found within every individual. I realized that, beyond the financial aspect, the microfinance program is empowering people to pursue their aspirations and break the cycle of poverty.

In the infirmary, as I cared for the talibés, I not only tended to their physical needs but also listened to their stories. Within those simple tales of how they fell or where they came from, I discovered their strong spirits. Despite the hardships they face, these young boys display remarkable courage and unwavering optimism. Their stories touched my heart and served as a constant reminder of the importance of providing them with love, care, and education.

In the evening English class, the talibé students eagerly embraced the opportunity to learn from me, their curiosity lighting up the room. The classroom became a space where cultural boundaries blurred, and friendships blossomed. As we discussed our favorite English singers and shared music from our respective cultures, the barriers of language and background melted away. It was a beautiful testament to the universality of music and the power it holds to unite people from different walks of life.

Sometimes I took a walk with the students. Once a student said, “You are just a simple and nice person like us.” This moment made me reflect on my journey and my perception of foreigners while growing up in Nepal. Being here as a foreigner and connecting with them as a person, rather than as that distant figure I imagined as a child, is truly a blessing.

I had wanted to come to Senegal since learning about the country in my French classes at my university. This experience surpassed all my expectations. Maison de la Gare provided me with a profound education that extended far beyond textbooks and classrooms. It offered me the opportunity to witness the transformative power of human connection, the strength of community, and the indomitable spirit of the talibés. This journey, filled with moments of joy, laughter, and shared dreams, will forever hold a special place in my heart.