To be happy is in the mind, it is a state of mind... 

Last Tuesday, August 24th, at Notre Dame du Refuge, was held the celebration of the sending of Charlotte (25 years old), a nurse at the Ehpad Mariama, who is leaving for Goya (Argentina, province of Corrientes), for a 3 month mission within the framework of the VIA.

In front of her relatives, her colleagues and many Servants of Mary, gathered for the occasion in the Chapel of Our Lady of Refuge, Charlotte shared her state of mind and her feelings on the eve of her departure. A ceremony full of hope and emotion...

"I have always dreamed of traveling the world to help people in need, so that's why I chose to be a nurse! Then I quickly realized that I didn't have to go far to help people, I found my place here, in Mariama's Ehpad, for 2 years now. I try every day to bring my good mood, a bit of youth, an attentive ear, a smile hidden behind the mask and, I hope, to meet the expectations of our residents and colleagues. But my idea to leave, not only to help others but also to learn, discover and grow, is still there.

A few months ago, I was talking about my desires and dreams with a resident and she immediately heard me and understood. She then scheduled a meeting with Sr. Graciella. Very quickly, Sr. Graciella then told me about VIA, I was amazed and excited to know that my dream was going to become reality. I then met with the VIA team, first in visio and then in person. The entire VIA team helped me and is still helping me to prepare my stay in Argentina. A kind of training is set up, so that we are in the best possible conditions to leave. With each of my worries, 1 or 2 days later I exchanged with the VIA team or with Sr. Graciella, and all my fears disappeared and I regained confidence.

The enthusiasm of my relatives, my colleagues and the residents gave me every day a little more serenity and excitement at the idea of leaving. 

Today I am serene at the idea of leaving, it is not a goodbye. I am leaving for 3 months, I will learn, discover and enrich myself so much that I will come back even stronger, with so many things to tell you. The work for us is difficult at the moment, the lack of staff, the hierarchical expectations, the deteriorating working conditions, and it costs me a lot not to be able to do my job as I should and as you deserve. So, this is a little break that will also allow me to regain my strength, to think a little bit about something else and maybe also to rethink our jobs in order to be in line with our personal values. 

I know that many of you are proud of my departure and, at the same time, a little saddened. But don't worry, you are not abandoned, it is Nathalie who will be replacing me for the most part. And on December 1st, I will be back on the job. And then we are in 2022, and we have Internet so don't panic! Even if I'm thousands of kilometers away, my nieces will be able to tell me about their first day of school, I'll be able to call my parents, my relatives, my friends and we'll also organize video calls on WhatsApp to exchange ideas. 

I'll be leaving with my backpack in about ten days, but I'm serene because I know that I'll be with you every day.

To close this beautiful celebration, I have chosen a song, "Happy" by Pharell Williams, that represents my mood at the moment. I am very happy to be here with you to launch my departure, and I hope to share this happiness with you. We are regularly asked in life, "Did you do this?", "Did you do that?", "Are you working?", "Do you have a boyfriend?" "Do you have kids?". Everyone expects us to achieve something in life, but not many people ask us, "Are you happy?", "Are you doing something you enjoy?".

So today, ask yourself this question! "Are you happy?"

Being happy is in your head, it's a state of mind, so choose this option there and life will seem much more beautiful! Me my choice is made! I decided́ to be happy so, for a moment, for an evening, we forget all the negative things around us, we keep only the positive. If you know the song you can sing, dance or just listen quietly, but share around you this beautiful energy..."

Sr. Léonie Muesca read a moving testimony on behalf of the residents of the EPHAD Mariama :

"Thank you Charlotte, you give us a beautiful example of generosity and humanity. In this, we recognize you well.

We see in it a beautiful impulse of the heart to serve the poorest and a gift of oneself by going towards the unknown.

It is a great joy for us and for the Congregation, knowing above all that you will return to us stronger and richer from such an experience.

Good luck Charlotte, know that our hearts are with you. Mary be with you."

Then, Mathilde, her friend and colleague, sent her a very touching message:

"Saturday, September 19, 2020, my return to Mariam; it has been a year and a half since I last worked. Change of team, familiar faces but also new ones and, above all, what I dread the most, a new nurse colleague. A small blonde, much younger than me, sure of herself. We have nothing in common, I am lost and wonder what I am doing here. 
The weeks go by, the first hard knocks at work, the first emergencies, the first deaths, it necessarily brings us closer. And then the first outings outside of work, we talk more and more. At work, it's complicated, we support each other, and I quickly realize that "I really found a partner, a friend even", to use your words. Today, there is not a day without us giving each other news: a vacation, a rest, a message at the very least, a 10-hour day spent together at work, discussions by message in the evening, a drink to decompress after work.
My friend, my confidant, my ally. 

Today we are almost all together to celebrate your departure, to wish you the best for your trip. I insist on the almost, thinking of one person in particular, the one thanks to whom this project, your project, was launched, Sr. Helene; she would have been so happy to see you there, today, ready to leave. You are leaving with projects full of head and heart, ready to share your knowledge, your dynamism and your joy of life. Enjoy these 3 months of discovery and sharing of a new country, a new culture. Three months after which you will come back richer, three months that for us will seem much longer and I am sure that Cathy agrees with me. I am also sure that you will come back with even more projects, strengthened by this extraordinary human experience.So, I can't promise you that we will all still be there, our team, in Mariama, but what I am sure of is that there will be many more drinks at the Trois Petits Cochons, restaurants all together and parties in clubs. 
And as Sr. Thérèse said to you, don't abandon us, come back!"