by Awele Oguejiofor
I was first introduced to the World Youth Alliance during Anna Halpine’s visit to UP Diliman by a good friend of mine on December 2009. I had no prior knowledge of WYA before this event but was instantaneously drawn to the organization because of Anna’s captivating storytelling style and her unsual ability to engage her audience. I inquired about how to contribute my little quota to the organization and signed the charter as soon as I got home. One thing that struck a chord with me during Ms. Halpine’s visit was the passion, drive, conviction, commitment and the compelling manner by which she told her story which I found absolutely mesmerizing and downright infectious. I was particularly impressed by Anna’s mastery of the ubiquitious and intractable development challenges that we face today and above all her ability to link it to the core message of the WYA which is to promote human dignity.
My sojourn as an intern at the World Youth Alliance has been an exciting and excruciating one. On the one hand, it has been exciting because it has afforded me the unquantifiable opportunity to learn the fundamental mechanics of the human person and also meet other passionate young people from different walks of life. It has also taught me that young people irrespective of their religious beliefs, creed and status yearn for similar things and can be a force majeure that can be harnessed and nurtued to effect real change in our society. On the other hand, It has been excruciating because I had to juggle my demanding school schedule and the WYA job requirements so much so that I considered quitting at the initial stage of the program because of the wide regimen of readings that we were required to endure and digest in the course of the internship. In the face of these ups and downs, I rather became addicted to WYA because of the electrifiying effect of the values inculcated in us through the readings and discussions as well as the amazing WYA family which kept me thirsting for more and I eventually refused to quit.
There is no gainsaying the fact that WYA has left an indelible mark in me that will forever remain evergreen in my memory and which I’ll take with me anywhere I go from here. Lastly, my experience would be rather incomplete without mentioning the humility, warmth, unconditional love, affection, understanding and care that has been showered on me by of our Regional Director Ren, the director of operations Des and my co interns Abel, Ri Yang, Homer and Patty who have all been like a family to me. To cut a long story short, words would not suffice to express how I feel about you all. I LOVE you all.