“Our friendship was a very important thing.” (Lebanese team member)
Friends reunited yesterday, after only 10 days apart, yet the excitement of being back together again powerfully echoed against the walls of The Faithful Neighbourhoods Centre in Sparkhill. The chance to meet again, and tell others about the trip, highlighted to me the depths these relationships had reached. There were truely life-changing friendships made on this trip.
One of the UK team commented,
“it helps open your mind and you learn so much about people, about humanity and about people’s personal beliefs. You learn to reflect and appreciate people for who they are.”
I could definitely see how they appreciated each other – our group were diverse in so many ways; ethnically, religiously, socio-economically and in personality. Yet we became exceptionally close friends and shared very deep and personal things with each other. Seeing and being part of a group who learned to love each other so deeply in such a short space of time was a privilege and experience I will never forget.
We do love our tag-line at The Feast , but it’s so true! The Istanbul Exchange 2012 has created amazing friendships within and across nations, explored faith on a very deep level (which is a taboo in Lebanese culture) and has changed lives in so many ways.
On a personal note I am excited to see how each of our amazing team members will use this experience, their gifts and friendship to continue to shape a more peaceful world.