Daniela Bitton

I’m currently in my fifth month at SACH and I am loving every minute of it! As an intern, I am able to experience the house from all aspects – I am able to play with the kids and get to know them, as well as get a glimpse of the behind the scenes in the office and offer any assistance to ensure things run smoothly. One of my responsibilities here is to write up profiles on all the children. Every child that comes through Save a Child’s Heart has a profile written up on him and for those that live in the house, I am able to conduct the interviews myself. This is my favorite part of my work here at SACH! I love being able to sit down with the caretakers, or the children themselves if they are old enough, and ask questions about their day to day lives back in their home countries. Being from New York myself, my mindset has very much been “in town” and I never imagined speaking with people from all over the world and learning about different cultures and ways of life from firsthand experiences. Depending on how chatty the caretakers are (and how good their English is), we can sit together for a while and exchange stories on our lives. I get excited before each interview and after each one, I immediately Google their hometown and learn even more about where they are from. I excitedly tell the others in the office the new information that I have learned and I would love to share one now!

Currently in the house, we have an adorable four-year-old boy named Sanusey, who arrived with his twenty one year old sister, Penda from Gambia. The reason that Sanusey’s mother did not accompany him is because she has a little 3 month old baby at home, so Penda came in her place. Penda is a beautifully poised and mature woman. The first day Sanusey was here and getting his initial workups, he collapsed and was rushed into emergency surgery. Thankfully, our amazing doctors at Wolfson Medical Center were able to save him and he is back in the house now, recovering amazingly. Earlier in the week, Penda and I had a chance to sit down while Sanusey played nearby. Penda told me that they are from a town in Gambia called Brikama. Though the official language of Gambia is English and that is what they learn in school, they all speak a cultural language called Madinka amongst themselves. They have electricity in their house but no running water. Only a few feet away from their house is a local water pump that they use to fill up water. It closes at 8 PM and reopens at 4 AM. Penda has been the one helping with Sanusey’s treatment since he has been diagnosed at 3 months old and they go every two weeks to the hospital- a three hour journey round-trip!  Neither of their parents work, but Penda does. She makes homemade ice cream and goes door-to-door to sell it. The main reason that she does this is to raise money for herself  to go to University. She has high hopes of becoming a home economics teacher and she is working hard to make sure that she gets there!

Sanusey DEMBA_Gambia (13).JPG
Penda and Sanusey after Sanusey’s successful surgery

Speaking with the caretakers opens my eyes to a whole other part of the world and makes me even more thankful for what I have. I know one day Penda will become an incredible teacher and will continue to inspire others, the way that she has inspired me!

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