Volunteering, NGOs and helping the world disillusion

In this article I am not judging nor saying I have the answers or the solution. I am only sharing questions and remarks that came to my mind as I discovered everything is deeply linked. It is my personal journey and I am not saying you shouldn’t come or try to help. I’m just raising awareness on the complexity of the situation. My awareness first. And trying to share facts of my own experience. 

NGOI have been in Malawi for a little more than a year now and if it taught me a lot it also brought a lot of questions to my head. Questions about luck in life, destiny, fairness and… saving the world. To be perfectly honest when I said to my friends and family I was coming to Malawi they assumed straight away that I was going to give a hand to some NGO, as Malawi is one of the poorest countries in the world. But no, I came here for very selfish purposes and I was about to volunteer for a company. Bad me, I wasn’t going to teach kids in poor schools or help build a well. I was going to work – for free – for a company making money. And I felt slightly guilty about it. Considering I was staying in the poorest country I’ve ever visited. Shouldn’t I be spending my time really helping those in need instead of a company ?

My guilt quickly disappeared and within a year my view on NGO’s, volunteer’s and international organization’s work has changed. A lot.

To volunteer or not to volunteer? 

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Inspired on a sunday #5

Sundays are for laziness and to be filled with what makes us feel good, full and alive.

Sundays are made to be inspired.

This video doesn’t make me fill good. But for sure it helped comforting my decisions of avoiding these fast fashion brands. For ethical reasons. To be honest I bought H&M products recently. Because it was cheap and quick. It was the first time I bought something in more than a year. Yes, living in a poor remote country forces you to review your shopping ambition. I had already done a good length of the way of reducing buys but it’s been more radical since I’m in Malawi. No shops, no money and… no “need” to buy. I am not missing it, and whenever I’m feeling down my answer isn’t shopping anymore. I realized how unfulfilling it was. And I am not less happy, no more as well. But travelling out of a (ok, two) backpack, since a year just simplified my life. And gave me a new lookout on our consumption society. This video confirmed my feeling, I thought you’d like to have a look.

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What Matters

#4 What matters to Adalaïs

I love meeting people. And having endless conversation. But I hate small talk. After watching a ted talk about how to avoid it I wrote the questions I wanted to ask every person I knew and meet in order to avoid the superficial discussion and bond with them. And I decided to ask them. Here are the answers.

Adalaïs, a unique name for a very unique human being. Woman, entrepreneur, student, friend, and not necessarily in this order. She is one of those people from whom the sun is shining and the energy is spreading. She activates my brain, my smile and make the world brighter. Adalaïs is a friend and therefore a person I admire and I deeply love spending time with. Hours of discussion. About anything and everything. From girl’s chat to deep religion conversation.

I couldn’t miss the opportunity to ask her the questions that matters to me. The questions that open my mind, resonate in my heart. Her answers are a new light upon those questions. Continue reading

Inspired on a sunday #4

Sundays are for laziness and to be filled with what makes us feel good, full and alive.

Sundays are made to be inspired.

My prose has no individual style as such, but is rather an unspoken and still unexpressed groping toward the personal. There is something there that wants to come out; something of my own that must be said. Yet, perhaps, words are not the way for me.

Neal Cassady

I discovered Neal Cassady while listening to a podcast about writing last week. Someone said about it that he is the best writer, and major authors said so as well. They read an extract of one of the letters he wrote. And I found it extraordinary. It is like a soul shared between words. It is unexplainable.

This quote here touched me deeply. Because I write and I feel like him about my writing. So exactly as he says. It is something that wants to come out and it must be said. Stories on the tip of my fingers. But stories words might not be able to tell, yet it is my way of expressing myself.

I fell in love with the extract I read. And again with this quote. I am now starting to read Collected letters.

It is my inspiration of the week. My inspiration to write and try to share my stories.

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Adalaïs, the “melting pot” or how to be all you are

They say you are like the people who surround you, so chose wisely. I happen to be very lucky. I have a lot of admiration for each one of my friends. They are the family you chose, but also people who teach you, change you, make you rise. I would like to share what they bring me, their knowledge or their philosophy, their advices or their example, their ideas or their beliefs. 

I met Adalaïs thanks to the friend who changed my vision of life. And it couldn’t have been otherwise. Adalaïs is one of these rare person with whom I felt at ease as soon as I met her. She’s one of the most clever person I know as well as one of the funniest. Yes sometimes you find both in the same person. As her name is rare, she is one of a kind. I asked her many question because she’s a student in Art at the Louvre – not less !- and in business, yes again she combines things that could seem miles away. She’s also an entrepreneur, running the school’s student company and the startup she co-founded.

Amazing you say? Yes. And yet you haven’t been sitting with her hours in an ancient town while she’s telling you about the story, the mysteries and hidden treasures. Her very unique way to put things together, fascinate me. Because she shows that yes, you can be everything you feel you are. It takes time and work. Energy and courage and it is very inspiring.

If you are passionate about Art, if you love entrepreneurship or if you want to know how to make your dreams come true, you should read this!
Adalaïs Choy
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What Matters

#3 What matters to Rory

I love meeting people. And having endless conversation. But I hate small talk. After watching a ted talk about how to avoid it I wrote the questions I wanted to ask every person I knew and meet in order to avoid the superficial discussion and bond with them. And I decided to ask them. Here are the answers.
Some people enter your life as if they were always here. And it just clicks. Everything feel so natural. Rory is one of these special persons for me. He walked in my life and brightened it with his positivity and always happy mood. His never ending smile as well as his focused mind, his playful ways and “everything is possible” mindset are fascinating and the best companions to my days.

I could not resist asking me my questions. Not to avoid small talk, but because I was genuinely interested in the answers. As his vision of life is so naturally positive I thought the world should also discover them!

Meet Rory, a traveller and a warm ray of sunshine for anyone who, like me, is sometimes filled with doubts and fears, wonders and on the path to a more serene life!

 Who are you?

 Rory Gillett, son of Geoffrey Gillett and heir to the seven rivers of Babylon.

I am an avid-explorer – in both mind and spirit – and wannabee entrepreneur.


What is happiness?

 Being content. If in the moment, you are smiling and no negative thoughts cloud your mind you are happy.


What are your biggest dreams?

 Philanthropy. I don’t look at philanthropy and think I will do this because I want to help people, the reasoning is more selfish than that, it is because making a difference to someone’s life no matter how small gives me a sense of fulfilment. It’s a win-win situation, both parties benefit, and I am sure it is the reason why anyone supports a charity or donates their time and money to a cause or an individual.

So, I dream to be in a position where my businesses run themselves and I can return to Malawi (and probably other countries I am yet to visit) and offer my time and knowledge to kick start social enterprises and make a real long-standing difference to as many lives as possible.


What is important?

 Time. Time is the most you can ever give someone or something. If you don’t give people or projects your time you won’t reap any reward. And vice versa if people don’t give you their time then they don’t really care for you and you shouldn’t spend your time on them. It’s something you can’t get back so spend it wisely.


What do you believe in?

 Self-fulfilment. Don’t spend your life trying to please others or working a job to make ends meet. Live for yourself, not for the man or your peers.


What are you afraid of?

 Fear doesn’t plague my mind. I don’t care too much for the future. I think if you are living in the here and now you don’t tend to worry so much. People tend to worry about the future, which leads to fear of failing in a certain aspect of life be it work or love. However, I don’t see the point in worrying about something that has not yet and may never happen.


 What would you change?

 Hmm, maybe I would have spent more time on the golf course as a junior – I was good at sports but I was very shy. I passed up opportunities to try different things such as motocross and play a round of golf with other junior golfers, who I didn’t know. So, if I could go back and speak to the 9/10/11/12/13/14 year old me I would tell him to just say yes – take every opportunity.


Are you happy?

 Yes! I have people around me who love me. If you have that you have no reason to be unhappy.


What would you like to add…?

 Don’t live a sheltered life. It’s a big beautiful planet we live on, go see it!

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Be inspired

Inspired on a sunday #3

Sundays are for laziness and to be filled with what makes us feel good, full and alive.

Sundays are made to be inspired.

I have, and I am still, been struggling a lot with doing what I want. Really want. Doing at all to be honest. I am much of a thinker, a dreamer and thought-wanderer and I used not to be a doer. I’ve been saying for years I want to write. Not really doing it. Not committing to anything. Drawing, travelling, doing yoga. I was thinking about it. A lot. Not acting. For many reasons, fears, social acceptation, laziness as well. It changed – a bit – with one of the worst and more interesting experiences of my life and Caisey Neistat videos. I started understanding what is it to be a do-er.

Caisey inspired me on this. Acting. He often says that a great idea is nothing without action. Do. So I got more into the doing part of things. Kicking my bum to do. But some things seemed so out of my reach that I wouldn’t give it a try. Oh, I had glimpse of energy and took action over some of my dream. But always stopped after a few trial, days or even hours. Because someone would tell me I’m unrealistic, because I remember words of being “not enough”, “not talented”, because I start comparing myself to other. Unreachable goals.

I ended up doing nothing and living in my dream. And I read again and again about motivation, taking action, believing in myself and it’s an endless circle. Until I discovered this, this week. A video by the very inspirational Caisey Neistat.

Do what you can’t. Because you’ll do it. You could fail but you could succeed. And it goes far beyond this. So just watch it. And do what you can’t.

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