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Geoffrey Rugarabamu


March 2012

RugarabamuGeoffrey 130x150Salam,

My first community experience was in 1997 when I joined the First Aid club in my primary school. The club was responsible for providing minor first aid help to injured athletes during sports events. I then became a registered Youth Red Cross member in 1999. The position enabled me to attend different Red Cross youth conferences held semi-annually in different regions in Tanzania, my home country. The satisfaction from serving fellow youth in orphanages, hospitals and from under privileged families was inexpressible.

During my secondary school years I became active in my youth church group. The church group participated in different community services. These mainly consisted of helping at plantations and with building communities around the church I attended. Or with members of church who needed help during preparation of their farms or during harvest time.

When I came to Manhattanville, the program that attracted me the most was Boys to Men. Coming from an all-boys school I felt I had a lot I could share with the young men from this group. The culture differences between the group and I created a wonderful opportunity to learn from each other. Apart from Boys to Men I have had an opportunity to be part of the Teenage Enrichment program, Midnight Run program and Friendly Connections. All of these programs have helped me learn much that I continue to use in my everyday life.

The biggest highlight as far as community service is concerned through Manhattanville is my trip to New Orleans in December 2010. From meeting people who had to start over after the hurricane Katrina to organizing an amazing event for the ninth ward community. That trip had a great impact on my life and I would like to thank the Duchesne Center for making it a possibility.

I am a big believer that human's pure sources of happiness are locked in realization of other people's happiness and by pure I mean the kind of happiness that is timeless. So, as I pursue to unlock my happiness I am bound to become selfless (other-centered) and vain (my happiness) at the same time leaving me no choice but to become vulnerable. Not the popular weak type definition of vulnerable but the powerful kind that Brené Brown talks about. I digress.

In conclusion, the following bible verse has been my mantra as far as community service is concerned:

Matthew 25:38-40 "When did we see You as a stranger and invite You in? When did we see You needing clothes and give them to You? When did we see You sick or in prison and go to visit You?" The King will reply, "What I'm about to tell you is true. Anything you did for one of the least important of these brothers of mine, you did for Me."