Lasallian projects have had a huge impact on my life. I’ve been on five of them; Kenya 2005, India RTU 2006 Uganda Mugalike 2007, Uganda Kitoba 2008 and India Kamalapuram 2009. I’ve helped build a nursery, 12 houses, a school building and two classrooms.

All of this building work made a real difference to the communities we worked in but I also gained a lot from the experience. Firstly I learned some practical skills, bricklaying, concrete mixing by hand, cooking with minimal ingredients, leadership and how to smoother out a cement floor.

More importantly I learned about other cultures, stories, traditions, way of life. The communities welcomed us like family. We took part in celebrations and were invited into people’s homes to share food and ideas. The kindness of those people will stay with me forever.

Lastly I made some of the best friends I’ve ever had. One of the best things about Lasallian is the camaraderie. If you meet another Lasallian, doesn’t matter if you haven’t been on a project together, if they’ve done more or fewer, if they’re older or younger, you’ll always have a shared experience to talk about.

Now I work as a pensions administrator for a retail company and I love it. My cozy office is a million miles from the building sites I worked on but I like to think I still use some of the skills I learned there. I’m still very much into experimental cooking.

To anyone planning to apply for a project I would say ‘Do it! What are you waiting for?’ I know some aspects might seem a bit scary like the work, the different food, lack of amenities etc. but I can promise you it will be worth it. It’s probably the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done and it’s a great way to realise your true potential.