Danielle Leboff

Today is day #3 at SACH, and everything is going well so far. Yesterday was echo day, where all the children take a trip to Wolfson Medical Center, to check on their status of their hearts, post surgery. Zinet, who is fifteen, and Asma, who is five, were the only children who remained at the house, where we did puzzles, coloring, and worked on some math with Zinet. Sadam went in to his operation this morning and all is looking well so far, and we wish him a full and quick recovery. There are 12 children under SACH/Wolfson Medical Center’s currently, and we are expecting a group from Zanzibar, and a baby from Ethiopia to be joining us soon. Lately, we have been doing lots of arts and crafts, including coloring, hanging butterflies, and collages. All the volunteers have been adjusting to the rhythms of the house, including a much needed kulala, or mid-afternoon nap. Many of the children recently have been drawn to educational activities, and the younger ones are particularly enjoying multiplication, while the older children have started learning multiplication tables.

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Playing with toy animal with Munir from Ethiopia

The most surprising thing to me about SACH is how much of a family the children and mothers in the house have become. They all experience this turbulent and often stressful time in their lives together, which bonds them very closely. The mothers spend large portions of the day cooking food from their country, and the volunteers have enjoyed trying authentic Ethiopian and Kenyan cuisine. Being able to cook their own food brings a feeling of comfort to both the mothers and children, as it provides them with some familiarity in this drastically different environment. The children have all formed the ability to communicate, despite a lack of a common language. As volunteers, we have also learned to communicate with the kids using very simple English words and a lot of physical demonstration to communicate a specific message. It is amazing to see the strength, resilience, and joy that the children all have despite facing life-threatening medical circumstances. An outsider would not be able to tell that these children face serious illnesses and have often just left the hospital following surgery.

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