Step into the Gap volunteer Hugh reflects on his trip to Cambodia …

Hugh Cafferky

Hugh Cafferky

Hugh Cafferky is our Step into the Gap volunteer based at St Cassian’s retreat centre in Kintbury Berkshire.  He reflects on is recent trip to visit CAFOD projects in Cambodia..

“Since returning to the UK from Cambodia, life has significantly changed and a new reality has been evolving. I seemed to have gone from one reality to another and it is in this instance that time seems to be standing still. I feel so close and connected to my experiences in Cambodia more than ever. During this time of uncertainty, we may be finding it extremely hard and are having have our own reality checks and culture shocks as we aren’t able to do simple things like we could before.

It has become clearer to me that we are one world, that we are waking up more and more to our common home and that we must be stewards and care for the earth. For me, it shows that we are guests on the earth, our home is our responsibility and we all have a role to play.

Watering the plants

Watering the plants

 

It only feels like yesterday I was in Cambodia, I look back and know that I was fortunate to go at the time I did, to visit CAFOD partners, COCD (Cambodian Organisation for Children and Development) and KBO (Karuna Battambang Organization). I know that the partners’ projects and programmes that CAFOD supports are incredibly vital even in this unprecedented time. Upon reflection, when getting involved in WASH projects with children in Tam Por Primary School in the Pursat province, personal hygiene such as simply washing your hands which has become an even more frequent ritual, are a crucial life skill but in the current situation it has a gravity that puts so many things into perspective, these projects are lifesaving and has been in the forefront of my mind.

Hugh with some of the other gappers

Hugh with some of the other gappers

Pope Francis’ encyclical ‘Laudato Si’’ has become unbelievable evident to me in so many different ways not only overseas at KBO’s wonderful CROAP centre but also here in the UK. In Cambodia I was blessed to visit communities’ farms, to experience their ways of sustainable agriculture, their unique ways of farming, looking after their livestock and their plants and vegetables, their stewardship and sufficiency in order to care for their families. This inspires me. I was also able to help the farmers in their routines in planting, watering and making compost, necessary for their lives and their loved ones. At this time, it feels like a paradox at St. Cassian’s to be able to go outside and help garden with one of the De La Salle brothers, to help plant but in a completely different way.  I notice the fragility of life, now and in Cambodia. I am anxious and worried for the communities and CAFOD partners that I had the privilege to meet. However, CAFOD and putting our faith into action gives me hope in this time of hardship and doubt, as it gives life to our brothers and sisters. Echoing the words of Pope Francis, that during this storm, it is ‘uncovering once more that common belonging, of which cannot be deprived: our belonging as brothers and sisters.’

hugh

 

In this time of separation, isolation and being physically apart from our communities may we remain ever united and together as one global community. Yet this a new reality for us, may we draw close to each other, guide one another, bring light, kindness and love to those we know and those on our online community. Let us not forget the needs of our world. Change is a powerful thing and, we know that there is hope and life. Let us keep awakening, searching and reviving our faith, our humanity and our common home.

Step into the Gap Volunteer Hugh prepares for his overseas trip to see CAFOD’s work in action!

Hugh Cafferky

Hugh Cafferky

Hugh our Step into the Gap volunteer based at St Cassians Kintbury is preparing for his trip to visit CAFOD projects in Cambodia .He writes..

“As I begin a new year with CAFOD I am filled with anticipation, excitement, nerves and fear as I prepare to visit Cambodia at the end of January. I feel so excited to experience CAFOD’s incredible work, to see how communities flourish through this and how people’s livelihoods are being changed for the better.

What I am going to be witnessing is going to be something completely new and beyond my imagination and will change me forever. I don’t think I can fully understand this fantastic opportunity I have been given by CAFOD to go and see how their work is developing and making an impact. I feel so excited and privileged to be able to experience the work that CAFOD does in Cambodia. One thing I am most looking forward to is meeting and working with local communities and young people that belong to them. To see CAFOD’S work in action, to put my faith into action further and to experience another culture is going to be a once in a lifetime opportunity.

I have learned that there is an amount of preparation you need to do before visiting another country. Preparing yourself with facts, figures, information, knowledge, literature and different geographical places within the country is just as crucial as preparing yourself mentally for travel and what you are going to be witnessing. I feel like I have learnt so much already in preparation about Cambodia, its culture, its steeped history and I am so excited to expand my knowledge further when I arrive. The amount of knowledge, skills, encounters and meeting of hearts I am going to experience from the communities and the people I meet in them is going to be invaluable. These experiences and skills I will gain will enable me to bring lots back to the UK to inspire other young people to get involved, to know they have a voice for the voiceless and to join CAFOD’s work in many ways by giving, acting and praying.

Having people around you to share this experience who are also passionate about their faith and action gives me encouragement and desire to make the most of our time in Cambodia with CAFOD partners. I think this is and will be an amazing aspect to our work encountering communities as one with love and solidarity. Thank you for your prayers, please keep myself and other gappers in your thoughts and prayers as we journey to Cambodia.”

We look forward to hearing about his trip when he returns.

Welcome to Hugh our new Step into Gap volunteer

Hugh Cafferky

Hugh Cafferky

Hi, my name is Hugh. I am 20 years old from Derby. Over the coming year, I will be volunteering for a second year at the De La Salle retreat centre, St. Cassian’s, Kintbury, which is within the Portsmouth Diocese. I have been aware of CAFOD and its work from a young age through my local parish and school. However, in my first-year of volunteering in youth ministry my passion for justice and putting my faith into action has grown even stronger. Through a previous gapper I have worked with and in researching more into CAFOD I became very inspired and I felt compelled to apply for the Step in to the Gap programme. I’m really looking forward to the year ahead and excited to witness first-hand more of the incredible work that CAFOD does around the world, our common home.

My desire is to make a real difference in the world to inspire others and young people who come on retreat to get involved in CAFOD and to know that together, great things are possible.

I joined the programme as I aspire to help others in the wider world and to have the opportunity as St. Oscar Romero states ‘to be God’s microphone.’ This is united with the passion I have with the varied work that CAFOD does and how I wish to be thoroughly engaged with it. Through this I hope to live out the CAFOD values through my personal life and through those I meet.

I feel that the programme will deepen my faith, my awareness of the world and how people’s lives will be transformed by the prayer and action of CAFOD and their partners. To strive for a world where no one is beyond reach, to pray for our global brothers and sisters, to take action in whatever way I can and to show Christ’s call to love.

CAFOD and its work is always a constant inspiration to me and will continue to be throughout my whole life.

I would like to welcome Hugh to the CAFOD Portsmouth team and wish him all the best for the year ahead!