Maria Colimão has been our Compassionate Neighbour’s Intern since October 2018. Her internship is coming to an end on 24 June, but here she shares some reflections on her journey with Compassionate Neighbours.
“For me, Compassionate Neighbours is a visible expression of spirituality in the community. Spirituality is often associated with the search for meaning and truth; it can involve practical actions, but the focus is on the things you can’t see, experiences of love, compassion, health and peace.
“The opportunity to do this internship has been amazing. It really gave me a new perspective of community engagement and social work: we are just orchestra conductors who discover what communities are doing already and work with them to build reciprocal relationships. I am really excited about how this will increase with the building of the Learning Hub; there is so much we can learn from our community, while at the same time we educate them around death dying and loss.
“It has been a privilege to walk into people’s homes, to learn their histories and to make a difference in their lives. One carer who joined the project said this to me, ‘Thank you for making today happen for my husband. I think he enjoyed it as he smiled and laughed.’ –her loved one suffers from dementia but had a great day in the company of his Compassionate Neighbour.
It has been a privilege to walk into people’s homes, to learn their histories and to make a difference in their lives
“Last but not least, I have really appreciated having access to different training, especially Memory Bridge. In Compassionate Neighbours we’ve recently worked with a local poet, Joe Duggan. Our workshops have enabled me to see writing as a gift and have enabled the creation of a surprise piece for the Compassionate Neighbours Spring Concert ‘Giving Voice’.
“All this has strengthened me to deal with uncertainty and the unexpected. Life always places us where and with whom we are meant to be; it’s happened since the start of this internship, right up until the end. I am confident about the future and am sure I’ll be seeing you all soon.”