Gabi Elias

Time.

As you experience people around you who’s time runs out, you are forced to reflect on your own time. Thinking of how others maybe had too little time, or are reaching an old age, we see how fortunate we are to have time ahead of us. Maybe we have tendencies to take advantage of time because most of us, especially a healthy twenty-one year old like I am, do not know what it is like to be running out of it.

Four months, in the span of a lifetime, is maybe nothing more than a few drops of water in a full glass, or a few pennies in a penny-jar. But, for someone like me, four months seems more like one solid slice of pizza in an eight piece pie — a substantial amount of time so precious and fleeting that I am constantly troubled by how to spend it wisely. That is why I interned at Save a Child’s Heart. The memories that I have made along with the help I have given has become something that I now understand to be truly invaluable — they have become timeless.

My funniest memory at SACH is of four year old Samira from Tanzania. Two weeks ago an Israeli beat boxing group volunteered to beat box for the kids and little Samira took it as an opportunity to show off her dance moves. She took the stage and had the whole house laughing as she walked in front of the beat boxers in the middle of their performance, threw her hands in the air and started wiggling her little hips. Before you knew it everyone forgot about the beat boxers, complete with back-up dancers and a large stereo system, just to watch Samira’s dancing performance. Her pure laughter filled the room and had everyone cracking up.

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My most heart warming memory at SACH is of sixteen year old Rashidi from Tanzania and twenty year old Paulina also from Tanzania. A few weeks ago we got to take a few of the older and healthy kids for an excursion to a nearby playground. I had heard rumors of Rashidi and Paulina’s innocent, back-and-forth flirting but had never seen it until that day. The two of them very inconspicuously always happened to be together — sitting on the swings silently talking, walking back to the house giggling, and playing cards alone and away from everyone else. Rashidi and Paulina’s connection was so subtle that it was hard to notice, but once I noticed it I was touched.

My most memorable moment at SACH is from that same day at the park. Two other volunteers and I got on the octopus (the playground contraption that spins you around when you pivot yourself around the central pole) with Nazifa, Fatma, Mudrik, and Paulina and Rashidi (of course). Rashidi took control of the octopus, spinning us around as fast as he could and without stopping. Everyone burst out into hysterical laughter and screams of delight. I have a strong image of Nazifa from Ethiopia with her hands thrown in the air and wearing the biggest smile I’ve ever seen on her. She was always one of the shyer children at the SACH House, only ever giving a few rare soft grins. Nazifa was the last one to get off the octopus that day and told me later that she had never been on anything like the octopus before — she loved it.

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SACH as an organization is dedicated to giving children who would have too little time, a lifetime; a mission that is irreplaceable. Today, as I begin my last week of my nearly four month internship at Save a Child’s Heart, though my time here will soon be behind me, I will carry these small moments with me forever.

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