Taha, a former GROW trainer, tells us his impressions about the project before and after being part of it.

“I have heard them all say it’s a life changing experience. What do you think, Taha?”
“Ah! I don’t believe in all this, we’ll simply go get done with our internship, fetch the certificate and come back to our daily routines”

*   *   *

“I don’t  think I will ever be able to think, to live or to even dream the same way as I used to, before coming here,”  were the words I heard myself say on stage at the closing ceremony.  And I meant it.

*   *   *

taha abdul ghafoorTo write of my two months I find infinite ways to conclude them. Yet at the same time I fail to find a way to conclude them. I may conclude my two months in a single word, a single sentence, a single paragraph, a single blog or perhaps even a single book.  A lot will, nevertheless, remain unexplained. Still, to begin with, it has been twenty seven days, thirteen hours and fifty four minutes since I stepped off the Romanian soil and I still haven’t managed to find an easy way to write it down in words; what it was like to be there and what it is like to not be there anymore.

If Magneto, Joker, Venom, Lex Luthor and Lord Voldemort existed in reality, I can bet my life upon the fact that “Destroy AIESEC” would have been on top of their To-Do lists. Bringing in people from all over the planet and putting them in one place for a period extensive enough for them realize that regardless of the countries they belong to, the traditions they follow, the languages they speak, the way they speak or the food they eat, they are all, in the end, the same. The potential this thing has is immeasurable. The capacity of bringing not just the people but also perceptions, values and ideas from all over the world and transforming them all in to one is just inexplicably remarkable. Luck, AIESEC and GROW Romania, a project based on simple curriculum of informal education for high school teenagers, gave me the opportunity of changing lives of many others (well, at least I hope) and of my own. To be honest, calling it just a project doesn’t seem to be doing it justice. Calling it a life-changing project is, in my opinion, the least amount of justice one could possibly do to GROW. Strangers turning into life-time pals, hatred turning into love, national enemies turning into best-friends had become sights that were no longer rare to me even as early as the second week, for all it comes down to is, instincts and human nature- not the nationality you hold, the colour you are or the race you belong to. What I have learnt of this experience is: Do not let some superficial geographical boundaries define who you are, the way you are supposed to be, who you are supposed to hate in this world and whom to love.

Being a huge fan of Paulo Coelho I would quote his words from the Alchemist: “Everyone on earth has a treasure that awaits him”. Well, I found mine: in the form of time, in the form of every split second spent within Romanian borders. Because in life there are expectations, then there are things that are beyond the wildest of your expectations and then there are Romanians – the ones who’ll always supersede the wildest of your expectations.

Fear – a word that has been defined in thousands of different ways by thousands of different people in different ages of time still holds an ambiguity within its meanings; it requires to be felt in order to be understood. Of the countless things I have learnt over the summer, or rather experiencing, fear was one of them. To Romania, to Brazil, to Mexico, to Egypt, to Austria, to Russia, to India, to USA, to China, to Hungary, to Greece, to Singapore, to Lebanon, to Slovakia, to Canada, to Indonesia, to Czech; saying goodbye to each one of you with an aching heart, not knowing if I will ever see you again. For me, that was fear – excruciating fear.