I've never come across such an amazing bunch of children in all my life, each and every one them is so smart, beautiful, kind and capable of changing the world. I feel honestly privileged to have been allowed into their world.
Even though I was there to volunteer my time and energy to help them, I think they helped me as much as I helped them!
While we were there, we carried out a lot of projects around the centre including:
- painting a mural on one of the outside walls to brighten up the place
- weeding the garden and creating a play area for the kids, we built benches, a table & a blackboard and planted flowerbeds so the girls can utilise the outdoor space. This was quite a big project which took a lot of man power and almost the full two weeks of work.
- cementing the paths around the centre to make it less dangerous for all the children running around (bear in mind there was no cement mixer so the cement was all mixed by hand, no easy feat)
- upgrading the kitchen
- adding shelving to the dormitories
- converting one of the old storage rooms into a computer room
- installing a library in one of the local schools
The children really loved any kind of physical affection like hugs or even holding hands. Everywhere I went around the centre, I had little ones holding my hands, hugging me and playing with my hair. It's a well known and well proven fact of psychology that small signs of physical affection increase bonding so you can imagine what all the hand holding did for the bonding between us and the kids! Even on the first day, they weren't afraid to walk right up to us and hang out of our arms or shoulders, it honestly made my heart flutter a little bit every time I felt a tiny hand slip into mine. Considering that most of the children in the centre experienced physical abuse at the very least, I was truly astonished at their ability to trust an adult let alone want to be close to them the way they were with us.
I've never had the feeling that I was doing anything worthwhile in my life until I went on this trip, the immediate gratification was incredible, we could see a difference being made before our eyes.
I truly can't recommend a trip like this enough, it was hard work but there was no minute of it that I wanted to give up or go home or even stop for a rest. It was a fortnight of go go go and even though it was tiring at times, I loved every minute of it!
Watch this space for more posts to come!