Two years ago, I entered the Save a Child’s Heart house for the first time. I was on my gap year and my program came to visit the house to play with the children for a couple of hours. Despite the fact that my gap year trip in Israel lasted six months, and I did many amazing things during that time, my two hours in the SACH house was the highlight of my time in Israel.
Two years later, I have returned to Israel to spend some extended time at the house as a live in volunteer and it has been nothing short of how I felt the first time I came. The happy, warm and welcoming atmosphere that I experienced two years ago was still clearly evident. I have truly enjoyed my time in the house, living amongst people of different cultures, languages and religion. I believe this house reflects that of a Utopian society.
Within minutes upon entering the house for my volunteering, I was overcome by the happiness that encompasses every aspect of the house. I had prepared myself to deal with confronting challenging experiences, as it is a house filled with children who are in need of heart surgery, however, I find often that I forget these children are sick; they are happy and excited almost all the time. Denis, a twelve-year-old from Kenya is constantly smiling, I don’t think I have ever seen him anything but happy, and I believe that is a testament to anyone who is involved in SACH. Although these children have come to Israel under unfortunate circumstances, you would never know from the smiles you see on their faces.
Kalid, a five-year-old from Ethiopia came home from the hospital after having his surgery in my first week at the house. Although I stood back as I expected him to want some space, as he may have been in pain, within seconds he was sitting on my lap laughing and trying to tickle anyone who he could reach.
Even in the hospital the children are happy. One morning I went to the hospital and visited the children due for surgery. I went to see Yirda, a nine-year-old from Ethiopia, who while in the house was the happiest child I have ever seen. His happiness did not waiver sitting in a hospital bed connected to an IV. As I walked into his room, he smiled, waved and asked for several high-5’s and a hug. We then sat for a couple minutes holding hands. Despite the fact that Yirda and I cannot communicate with words, it was so special to sit there with him and witness his happiness and strength.
Save a Child’s Heart is the most special and extraordinary organisation that I have ever had the chance to be a part of. The relationships I have created with the children and their mothers, though seemingly impossible to create in the short 2-week span, have been incredible. Living in the Save a Child’s Heart home has been the most unbelievable experience and I know that I can continue to help and be a part of this amazing organisation all the way from Australia.
If you would like to become a volunteer like Kim, learn more at our website!