My second week in the SACH house was even more enjoyable than the first, mainly because I knew everyone’s names and where all the toys/supplies were located. It was now my responsibility to welcome the new full-time volunteer, Sophie, with warmth and enthusiasm. Sophie had the difficult task of following in Rachael’s footsteps, but her sincerity, creativity, and devotion won over the children immediately. I found that knowing all of the children in the SACH house was both a positive and a negative thing. On one hand, I loved having all of the children tackle me in the morning when coming downstairs for breakfast. I looked forward to playing Uno with Iqra and dancing with Samir and Mudrik everyday, and anxiously awaited the freshly cooked meals being offered at Kula time from every mother. On the other hand, becoming so emotionally invested in the children made the more challenging aspects of a full-time volunteer’s position even more difficult. In particular, I struggled to remain stoic when wishing good luck to several children (who I formed close relationships with) as they left the house for surgery.
I utilized my day off this week to visit the recovery ward in Wolfson Medical Center, just to ensure that the kids were all right. Furthermore, after becoming close with all of the families from Gambia, saying goodbye to Sanusey, Hamza, Naffie, Khaddijatou, and Jainaba (as well as their incredible relatives) as they were heading to the airport was quite sad. All volunteers and medical interns stayed up until 1:30 am to wish the families farewell, and it was heart-warming to see all the other mothers from Ethiopia, Tanzania, and Zanzibar come down to get their final hugs in as well. As I finish my full-time volunteering portion of my stay with SACH, I recollect on how meaningful and hands-on of an experience I have been provided with. I’m strongly looking forward to beginning the Therapy Program Internship and receiving the opportunity to cater programs to meet each child’s strengths and limitations.