Every morning I leave Grand Central Station and walk to GAA office. Those daily ten minutes make me feel that I am part of New York City. I see people in suits and in a hurry, drinking their coffee as they go. I think, how lucky I am to live here and to go to work at 777 UN Plaza.My name is Ludivine Gendre, I have been an intern at GAA since the end of June and I am leaving very soon which makes me feel very sad! I am currently pursuing a Master’s degree in International Law in France and I hope to be studying in Paris next year.
I decided to work at GAA because of the Interns Voices on the website. The atmosphere here sounded very nice. I must admit it has been even better than I thought! Here at GAA, everybody is free to organize his or her time and tasks as he feels like. Magali and Susanne rely on us and trust us. GAA is gathering interns from all over the world. Working here teaches us a lot about other countries and cultural diversity.
At the office I am in charge of the French section; I also often have to focus on pensions, comparing the different national systems. Doing this research is very interesting and I learned a lot about aging issues. I particularly like finding articles dealing with Africa. I think many people in the world are unaware of the situation in these countries. That’s why we need to give them voice on the GAA website. But sometimes it is very hard to find articles and it varies every week.
This week I found an article that details a new philosophy of health care in nursing homes, the ‘Humanitude,’ a humanist way of taking care of older people. This article shows that new ways can still be found to help older persons. I also enjoy finding small articles dealing with new studies. This week I found one that said older people need more of the 'sunshine vitamin' and that sunlight can be very good in providing them with vitamin D. This vitamin protects people from a number of diseases. Many studies show us that physicians are aware of aging issues and keep researching these topics so that they can help older people.
Time at GAA has been delightful, I got to know more about aging issues, I got involved in seminars with retired people, I went to the UN and I had a lot of fun during lunch breaks with all the other interns. “Time flies when you’re having fun,” that is what I have been told. I wish I could have stayed longer to have more fun.
Last week, a former GAA intern, Marie-Pascal Verly, sent us some photos of older persons from Zambia where she spent a year with Catholic Relief Services. In August, Marya Hannun wrote a long article about older persons in Lebanon while she was working there in a refugee camp. These former interns are still in touch with GAA and keep working on aging issues. It seems that their experiences as interns here are never going to end. I am happy to think that I can still be useful for GAA in the future.
And if you think or have heard about an initiative or a new development that could help older persons, please let GAA know. Feel free to write a comment, we will be glad to hear and learn from your experiences!