I was initially hesitant to start volunteering with Save a Child’s Heart. What if the children and parents won’t understand me? What if the children don’t like me, or find me fun? What if I don’t connect with the rest of the staff and volunteers? All of my concerns subsided upon arriving at the Children’s House last Sunday. I first met Rachael, a fellow full-time volunteer from the United States. She welcomed me with warmth and enthusiasm, and immediately assisted me in learning the children’s names. Shortly thereafter, I received an opportunity to meet the rest of the SACH family, including Rachel, Brianna, Laura, Jade, and Jessica. Their genuine passion and compassion were transparent when introducing the children and showing me around the house. I was immediately amazed by the children’s endless energy and positivity. After only 2 hours in the SACH house, 7-year-old Hawa was already painting my nails green while 2-year-old Muhammed was throwing dinosaur toys down my shirt. Despite their triumphant life struggles, these children are resilient, perseverant, optimistic, and energetic. Before getting ready for Kulala time, I enjoyed a home-cooked, traditional meal prepared by the Gambian mothers. The medical interns then took me out for ice-cream, and showed me around the city of Holon.
Overall, I really appreciated everyone’s efforts on my first day to make me feel as accepted and wanted as possible. Over the course of the week, my relationships with the children, staff, volunteers, mothers, and nurses, have continued to strengthen. Similar to these kids, the SACH House is becoming my home away from home (Canada), and I cannot wait to spend the rest of my month completing such meaningful work alongside like-minded, motivated individuals!