Exactly one week ago from today, I arrived in Israel and took my first steps into the SACH house, where I started as a full-time volunteer. Before arriving, I wondered what the house would be like, whether the kids would like me, and what types of activities we would do together. I was super excited to begin volunteering, but also a little nervous to embark on this new experience. Immediately upon walking into the SACH house, I noticed a large group of adorable, happy and energetic kids with huge smiles on their faces who were playing games with their mothers and the other volunteers. At this moment, I knew that the next two weeks were going to be a blast and that I would fit perfectly in the SACH family! I was quickly introduced to Asma, a sweet five year old girl from Ethiopia who shyly walked into the playroom to give me a big hug and showed me some of her favorite toys. Soon enough, 9 year old Munir, also came to meet me and challenged me to a race with his cool toy cars. In the exciting days that followed, I got to know each and every child currently living in the house as well as their mothers, who often tell me interesting stories about their home country and are always eager to have me try some of their delicious traditional dishes.
Throughout the week, the children and I have done tons of arts & craft activities together with the other volunteers, such as making picture frames, beaded jewelry, paper crowns, yarn monsters, and watercolor paintings and puppets. We have also spent a lot of time outside enjoying the beautiful weather in Holon and playing with a bunch of their favorite animal toys, puzzles and memory card games as well as some educational math games too. We even had some dance parties, a carnival, and an afternoon filled with a fun cookie decorating! One of my favorite parts of each day is after dinner, when the children and I all sit together to watch a movie of their choice: Shrek and Frozen seem to be favorites! As I reflect on my week at SACH so far, I can’t believe how much I have already learned from this incredible experience and from all of the wonderful children. I am really looking forward to all the smiles, hugs, fun times and new things I will learn during this upcoming week in the SACH house!