Rachel Werner

The Heart That Brought Me Here

“There’s an end to every storm. Once all the trees have been uprooted. Once all the houses have been ripped apart. The wind will hush, the clouds will part, the rain will stop, the sky will clear in an instant. But only then, in those quiet moments after the storm, do we learn who was strong enough to survive it.”-Grey’s Anatomy

Save A Child’s Heart is the end of the storm. The light at the end of tunnel. The surgery necessary for life to go on. SACH is helping people survive, and helping them realize that they are strong enough to continue.

The organization that I fell in love with before I even came to Israel is something more than I could ever imagine. It has been an honor to be a part of something that is as unique and culturally, racially and stereo-typically defying as SACH, and it is only the beginning. Now that I am a part of the SACH family, I cannot imagine this organization not being a part of my life.

From the first day that I walked in, I was sent to have an orientation of with the occupational therapist, Jade. I sat down next to her and the next thing I knew I had a 4 year old Kenyan boy back into my lap. I looked at Jade with what I’m sure was a look of tentativeness and happiness and she looked back and simply said “this is Stano.”  I’m not sure if he trusted me because I let him come to me, or if it was because I was sitting next to a familiar person, but his first step of acceptance encouraged others to do the same.  That first day, I met all 21 children. Some from Kenya, some from Zanzibar and others from Ethiopia. Between the kids alone their were three official country languages being spoken; English, Amharic, and Swahili. And then when you throw village dialects into the mix and the Israelis who work in the house, there can be five people in the same room who all speak different languages. And yet they all seem to communicate with each other. It’s one of the reasons that SACH is like no place else in the world.

Hanging out with Stano from Kenya

These children at SACH need compassion, attention and stimulation, and my role is to provide all three. I spend the morning with them, playing, laughing and attempting to keep them busy with the same five toys and cabinet of art materials. At noon, the whole house eats lunch. They organize themselves by country and eat a meal cooked by the mothers from their respective countries. After “Kula” (meal or eat) they go to take a “Kulala” (nap or rest).  They sleep from around 1pm to 4pm. While they are taking their Kulala, I go to the office and begin my administrative work for the day. My work has been a mix of typical office assistant work with child life work and grant research. Then in the afternoon before I leave for the night, I get to wake the kids up from their nap and see them and hang out. It is the perfect way to spend the last half an hour before I leave for the day.

As Derek Shepherd said, “It’s a beautiful day to save lives.”

Being in the day to day activity at the house, it is so incredible easy to get caught up in the personalities and games and drama; however, when you take a step back and look at how many amazing things this organization is doing, it’s incredible.  These children that are thriving, would not survive without the help of Save A Child’s Heart. Every day is a beautiful day to save the lives of these beautiful children at the SACH house.


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