L’Arche Belgium – The Person At The Center

January 2015
By Brittanye Mackey

image of brittanye mackeyWhen I heard the L’Arche community in Bierges, Belgium was seeking volunteers I was overjoyed at the thought I could lend a helping hand.  This opportunity was completely unexpected, yet so rewarding.  I am so blessed that I was considered for this opportunity to learn more about another L’Arche community and also to speak French!  Seven weeks at Efffata and Aquero Houses this past summer were truly unforgettable.

L’Arche Bierges is home to 17 core member who live in two homes.  I lived in Efffata House with Marcel, Marie-Paule, Richard, David, Andre and Michael.  Each moment we shared was full of laughter, oh the personalities!  I could hardly get through dinner some nights.  Summertime in Europe meant that the core members had lots of vacation and made sharing time even more fun.  We took trips to an interactive technology museum, dined in the capital city Brussel and celebrated with two barbeques.

I happily happened upon L’Arche over a year ago and have learned so much about myself in the process.  I’ve become much more patient and understanding, but more importantly have been supported by the patience and understanding extended to me by our core members, assistants and all in the community.  Living L’Arche is not always easy to explain to others but in living IN another L’Arche community, I can definitely say I felt the spirit of L’Arche.  I was totally embraced by the community in Bierges and hope that our ties endure for years to come.

Brittanye Mackey, a Haverhill native, is a graduate of Brooks Academy and Spellman College and a Fullbright Scholar–she has served as an assistant for the past year and will be leaving L’Arche in 2015 to pursue her Masters.