Bella was a volunteer in the Hive Community Kitchen with L’Arche Manchester. From Indonesia, she came to L’Arche with the Vincentians. Whilst volunteering with L'Arche she learnt about patience, vulnerability and the preciousness of people with and without learning disabilities.

Back in Indonesia I worked for a consultancy company in human resources. Before that I studied psychology for my Bachelor’s degree. I worked for two years and then I started to ask myself ‘what should I do?’ For me, one of the things that I want is to live my life in a way that is reflective of who I am. I feel that the happiness and the joy of life will come to us if what we do fits with who each of us is.

The first time I came to L’Arche I was amazed. We went cycling and this was something very far from my imagination. At the cycling place I was amazed to see the way that people with learning disabilities were supported to do activities.

My relationship with Emily is very unique. Emily may look vulnerable because of the support she needs. But what I have learnt from supporting Emily is that I too need support. I am very small in this world. I might pretend to be strong, but at some points in my life I realise that I too am vulnerable. So yes I am supporting Emily, but in my own life I realise that I too am vulnerable and in need of support.

I have learnt to enjoy this life and live this life. I have learnt about relationships. Watching the people with learning disabilities and assistants has taught me about seeing people equally. Everybody is precious and this has been a huge learning for me at L’Arche.

The big question for me is how I take what I have learnt from L’Arche and bring it home. I haven’t made any big decisions yet, but I know that I am going to live my life fully; I am going to bring the spirit and the joy of L’Arche back with me to other people. Maybe it’s abstract. It can’t all be measured in our work, or our productivity, or in what we ‘do.’

L’Arche offers the world love and joy through people with learning disabilities. Through L’Arche I have learnt about serving people in the world. It is not easy work, it can be tough. But here something deeper is revealed. In this community, through people with learning disabilities, we story and experience joy together.

If I had never come here, if I was still at home, I don’t think I would have realised the preciousness and giftedness of people with learning disabilities. 

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