Bienfait. What is Bienfait? Bienfait directly translates to “well done” in French. Every single aspect of the past several hours was done well. Today we met a man, Bienfait, who is also known as Prince. This man had a spirit for life unlike anyone I think I have ever met. While I was originally skeptical that we would have an unsuccessful day due to some timing miscommunications, I was pleasantly surprised when we entered the third home we came knocking at. We were welcomed by a family who was eager to meet us and tell their story. The eleven of us all sat in their home with our ears and eyes wide open. I expected to have a great conversation that was informative and enlightening much like other conversations we have had this week so far, but my expectations were blown away.
Prince took lead of our conversation and told us of the mission he has created and the vision he has set forth for himself. He is one of the cofounders of the non-profit organization, CISO ORGA. The mission for this organization is to provide money for children in refugee camps to go to school. He even assured us that doners are able to see the impact of their donations when they are sent a letter and photo of the child whose education they are funding is sent back to the individual. Yes this is a huge task, and a massive undertaking for a group of friends to take on, but his organization is impactful and making a difference. Erasing indifference? That’s exactly what this group is doing, breaking down the walls of education and the language barriers that refugees experience in the United States. Prince and his colleagues are providing power to those who have trouble receiving it. They are making children’s lives better and making them feel valued.
Prince moved me with his attitude towards every part of life. The best way to describe him and his passion for the cause he supports is optimism. I mean this guy thrives on enthusiasm for his organization and the meaning behind what CISO ORGA does. Just hearing from someone that has a genuine passion for other people inspired me so much that it left me speechless. I was so overjoyed and overwhelmed with emotion when Prince spoke to us today that it was difficult for me to say or do anything other than just listen to what he has to say. I think today was introspective for me because I took away so much from him and his story that I have not been doing in my own life. Being grateful and truly appreciative for what I have has been something I don’t believe I have exemplified very well in my every day life.
He also mentioned something that is incredibly powerful. He told us that it is okay for us to not fully understand the lives of those who do not receive education and do not have the quality of life we do, but that actually it is impossible for us to understand it. However, to simply recognize that we are fortunate to receive such higher level education and that we should be appreciative for what we have is what is important. He exemplifies this in his movements and his speech. He is so appreciative of everything in his life from his family to his source of income. Ah, now this was an “Aha” moment for me. It is not about comparing your experiences to others, it is simply about recognizing the impact of your own experiences relative to you. While it is easy for us to say, “others would kill to be in your position” I think Prince wanted us to acknowledge that it is not about that as much as it is about appreciation for what you already have. I thank him for bringing this to my attention and changing my perspectives. Social comparisons may be easy for us to do, but they are not effective in prolonging the optimistic spirit that he brings to everyone he touches.
One of the most important statements that he made today was that no condition is permanent. Think about that for a minute. We make choices about our lives and we can either work towards the goals we set for ourselves or accept what we have. That is what’s most inspiring about Prince, he doesn’t accept the lack of education in refugee camps. He won’t sit around and wait for change, rather he inspires people to make one. Wow, to think that a group of people are making such a huge impact on people miles away across seas is motivational. He inspired me and I know he inspired this group today and I am so fortunate to have caught his contagious and positive outcome on life.
Today, I learned and today I grew.