When our boys and girls and their adult supervisors went to Hodovo, we had hoped to be able to produce a daily 'blog-like' diary. But some things just do not go to plan. They have been so busy out there day and night - day at the Settlement School, and night at the International Youth Festival, that they have had little time for the internet. However, on Monday a flurry of pieces arrived and they are published below.
Our time has been fantastic. The main thing that I have enjoyed is being with all the young people and making new friends. I hope to keep in contact with these young people in the time ahead. I really liked painting the rooms and being part of the team, because we had Fr Darren on our team. I really want to come here again and build on our friendships.
I am really glad I was chosen to be part of the project in Hodovo. My experience so far has been amazing. I have made lots of friends and the people of Hodovo are really friendly. Painting the school was fun and I'm glad we have been able to make a difference to other peoples lives as well as having a great experience, which I will never forget. Medjogore is a really beautiful place and the youth festival is awesome and even though I don't understand the language, the song and atmosphere are so good. So far this is fantastic!
This Hodovo project has been a fantastic opportunity for me with regards to my own personal development. Being able to be part of a team to improve the lives of people less fortunate than us. The painting of the classrooms was hard work in the heat but knowing that you are improving the lives of others is very rewarding. The people who live in Hodovo are very friendly and the people in Medjogore are also friendly. I would say that the friendliness has been the best part. Overall this experience so far has been very enjoyable.
Coming to Hodovo was nothing like I expected; painting the classrooms has been a grsat experience and really feels like the right thing to do. My favourite part was meeting the other young people from the area. Even though we do not speak the same language, we still managed to communicate. I hope that we have improved the learning environment. The people here have been so kind. I have really enjoyed this trip so far.
My experience of Hodovo and Medjogore so far has been incredible. I have made new friends from a variety of cultures and different backgrounds. Painting Yheptich school has made me realise how fortunate education is. The youth festival has shown me how the world is iunited through peace even though there are political differences. It has been a different experience compared to three years ago, it has been based around friendships. I hope to return here to help this commuity.
Being part of this project has been very important. Our days spent at the school in Hodovo has been very productive; it was good working as part of a team painting the classrooms. The work was extremely hard but very rewarding to see the final product and be part of an amazing team. The people who live in Hodovo are so friendly and outgoing, yet are so poor and live in an underprivileged society. Their upbeat nature was lovely to see and I am glad that St. Clare's parish is able to help this special community.
Medjogore is also a very special place solidifying each and every persons faith. It is much bigger and busier that I expected. I really was filled with joy when I saw the procession of flags. To see so many flags from different countries present (MANY OF WHOM ARE SUFFERING THE PAINS OF WAR AND CONFLICT) was incredible. Alkyl, who were present seek to promote peace in the world and end evil and suffering - a very promising and hopeful thought. I am really enjoying this trip to Hodovo and being part of the youth festival at Medjogore; it is incredible especially being part of the celebrations with so many people. The atmosphere is so vibrant.
I only found out I was coming on the Hodovo link a week before, but I had a real sense that Our Lady wanted me here. I had no idea what to expect but it has been a very humbling experience. I work in a school and to see the comparison between my school and this one, it really does hit home how well they do with so little. The children here are so well mannered and so thankful for all they have, we all have something to learn from that. It has been an honor to be part of the Hodovo project this week and I would jump at the opportunity to come back again. Richard is lay chaplain at St Benedict's High School Whitehaven.
Nijo Puthuppalliparampil John
This trip so far has been amazing to be with other young people, learning a new language. It was a great time together working as a team, painting classrooms for the benefits of those young people in the village. We also played football with the local young people and also volleyball. The trip so far has been an experience of a lifetime and I wish to come back again in the future.
What a fantastic trip so far! We've met some lovely people who have been very kind. In Hodovo the team worked together tirelessly in very hot conditions to paint and clean the classrooms. The children showed great spirit and commitment to making it look special. The children also took time out to play football with the local children once the jobs were done......or when they got bored!!! Steve and I, after only 2 days have agreed we must return next year to Medjogore and Hodovo.
So far this has been an incredible experience and one which I will never forget. Painting the classrooms was fun and it was great to know that we were helping the children of Hodovo. We played sports with some of the children from Yheptich and after a few days we were all so close that we didn't want to leave them. The young people of Hodovo have been the most special part of the trip for me. Although they had so little they were so happy with what they had.
The MEDJUGORJE youth festival was also incredible; it was amazing to see so many people singing songs together and praising God. It really gave me hope for the future, that Christianity will always be passed on as a huge events like this continue. Overall, I feel honoured that I had this opportunity and we, St Clares School and parish, should be proud of what we have done for the people of Hodovo.
Within these days, we played football and volleyball with the children. They were amazing! After losing most games of both sports we realised that they were much better than us. The one thing that struck me most about Hodovo was their generosity. The day we left we got treated with many little gifts which was wonderful!
MEDJUGORJE was a very peaceful place although there were many people there. The church and all the various statues around the site had something special about them. I was filled with peace. We were blessed that we came during the youth festival. Seeing so many young people made us feel part of a larger community especially when we all sang and danced together. The whole trip has really been eye opening. I've begun to see how other kids, who are the same age as me, live their lives. This helps me to see what I am doing wrong or sometimes even right. I've learnt a lot from the children of Hodovo who live happily and in peace although they have very little. Also MEDJUGORJE has truly strengthened my faith and given me hope for the future. I would love to go to both Hodovo and MEDJUGORJE again.
When we arrived at St Clare’s at 4am I felt tired and excited and I also felt eager to actually see what Hodovo was really like. We landed at Dubrovnik it was very green, either lots trees. I also felt very pleased to be there. We got to the hotel; I was very tired especially after the 4 hour mini bus journey through four border controls. One of the first things I saw at Medjugorje was the church. It was very holy which gave me a warm feeling inside. The sun had just set and we went for a walk around the church where the youth festival was taking place. We visited the area which was very quiet despite the crowds of young people. We sat together and prayed together. On Friday we headed off to Hodovo where the school is, I really felt sorry the children who have to go there every day. The walls needed painting and this is what we did. Once the rooms had been finished they were cleaner and brighter. The thing that struck me the most was the poverty, and what made me sad was the fact that these children had next to nothing, even the basics like paper where in very short supply. At night time we returned to Hodovo, went to Mass and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.