From 23 to 26 May, 2016, members of Caritas Georgia (CG) attended the Caritas Europa Regional Conference 2016 in Lourdes, France. Among the representatives, there was a beneficiary of Caritas Georgia – Nikoloz Areshidze. The following entails an interview with Nikoloz:
Nikoloz, this was your first visit to France. Please share with us your impressions of the country and key moments of your visit.
Yes, it was my first trip abroad, first time in France, and first time on board of an aircraft. I enjoyed the flight. As for France, with Lourdes, I also had an opportunity to visit Paris. I am still under impression and had an unforgettable experience. Moreover, I was practicing my English while communicating with members of the Regional Conference. This is quite useful for my future plans.
Among the beneficiaries of Caritas Georgia you were the one, who was chosen to visit Lourdes. What was the determining factor of it?
I think the main factor is that I am doing well with my studies. Education is the key to success. We already had some examples in the past; those who were studying well were granted to go abroad. In my opinion, this is a great motivation for children and adults.
Lourdes is well-known town for the Catholic world. What can you say about the city?
I liked Lourdes and its surroundings; it is a nice place for inspiration. I had found out some information about Lourdes on the internet, but in reality it was much more beautiful. Lourdes is the largest Catholic pilgrimage destination in France and one of the most popular Catholic shrines in the world. Prior to the apparitions of the Virgin Mary in 1858, the most prominent feature of the town was the fortified castle that rises up from a rocky escarpment at its centre. In Lourdes everything is connected with faith and this was the most impressive thing for me. Overall, it is a small, peaceful and green town.
We are informed that after 2 years you will leave the program of Caritas Georgia. Has the trip changed your future plans?
Maybe it was not an actual change, but the trip has given me motivation for my future plans. I am going to study at Ivane Javakhishvili State University at the faculty of mathematics. I will work much harder to achieve my goals and be able to access other part of the world.
When did you enter the Caritas? Please tell us about the time you spend in Caritas Georgia. What did you learn? What is your experience?
I have been living in Small Group Housing of Caritas Georgia since 2005, nearly eleven years. I learned many things at the Caritas Day Youth Center, because of the different workshops. I studied the technique of enamel, wood engraving, and copper stamping. I play football and dance the traditional Georgian dances. I received great experience of everyday life and got to communicate with different people. I experienced friendship and care. I can’t imagine my life without Caritas, because Caritas has given me the right direction in my life and I am thankful to all the people who support me.
Last but not least, what does Caritas Georgia mean for you?
For me, Caritas is a chance. Chance that is rarely given to a person, providing you with care and all necessary things for learning, growing up and giving you the motivation to achieve your goals. It helps people, shows the right way, and the most importantly, it shares the love that is essential for everyone.