My name is Rebecca Mizrahi, and I am currently a full time volunteer at SACH. While spending a gap year learning in Israel, my school gave us time off before the holiday of Passover. During that time, a friend and I decided to come to live in and volunteer full time at SACH. I’m not going to lie, before I got here I was nervous about what it was going to be like. I didn’t know how I was going to communicate with kids that didn’t speak the same language as me, and I was worried that they would want to hang out with me. But boy was I wrong. From the minute I walked in to the SACH building I knew it was going to be an amazing stay.
I was introduced to other volunteers and kids within minutes of arriving, and although it was quite overwhelming, after about ten minutes I really felt at home. The kids all wanted to sit on my lap and play with me as if they’d known me their entire lives.
Something that continues to amaze me about SACH is the fact that no matter what your background- whether it be religious beliefs, language, race, or home country- everyone treats everyone with the utmost respect and compassion. Each mama loves each kid, whether or not the child is their own. There are so many people from different countries and ways of life, but everyone seems to find a way to communicate and make sure the system runs smoothly.
One day, I was sitting outside and Israel, a 15 year old boy from Tanzania, decided to throw me a ball. I threw it back, and next thing we know we had an extremely intense game of catch going on. We hadn’t spoken before that, but that simple game of catch really formed a bond between us. From then on, he became the little brother I never had, and we hung out all day and all night. Being in Israel for a year makes me miss my family, but SACH became my home away from home in just a few hours.
Another thing I love about SACH is the commitment and devotion the mamas show for their children. These mamas clearly would give anything, and are giving everything, to help their children get well. They care so much- and not only for their own kids, but for every kid in the house.
I also love the fact that the children take care of each other. The older kids always play with the little kids and babies and make sure they’re doing okay. Something that really stuck with me was when I was sitting with one of the little girls and she was crying for a while and itching her chest. I wasn’t sure what was bothering her, until a little boy came up to me and pointed to her scar on her chest and then to his, and started to scratch it. Then I realized that he was telling me that her stitches were itching her. I found it so moving that even the little kids look out for each other.
SACH is a house full of smiles, laughter, courage, and heroism, despite all of the hardships the people living here are going through. It is hands down the most touching and memorable volunteer work I’ve ever done. When I left, it was so hard to say goodbye. A bunch of the kids were crying, I was crying, and I knew that we formed bonds and relationships in just one week that sometimes don’t happen in a lifetime. One of the doctors told me something so true- “the love you get here is love like no other. You’ll never feel love like this again in your life.”
I hope to be back volunteering, whether it be here or at home in NY, and continue to make a bond with SACH and it’s families.