I was the first intern to work at this placement as a Medical Social Worker, so it took some time to feel out what my role would be. As I mentioned, my supervisor gave me space to work independently often, but was also available to check on the progress of my work, as everything was conducted in Spanish.
This summer I spent six weeks volunteering in Fiji teaching the students of Dawasamu Primary School. My responsibilities included improving literacy and numeracy comprehension as well as providing lessons in P.E., music, and art. I’ve never had any experience teaching, but my time spent in Dawasamu Primary School made me open my eyes to the importance of education-- and how taken for granted it is back in my own country.
As of now, we’ve spent five days giving lectures at that particular kindergarten. Consider the fact that they never had a English lecture before. But, writing this, some of them can already scream out A-G, 1-15 and about seven colors. It’s pretty amazing, since most are SO young that they barely know how to talk in Laos, let alone a second language. Progress, WHOO! I’m so impressed with the speed in which these kids can pick up on any info you throw at them. They’re my cute little sponges.
Teaching women through the Women’s Empowerment program, I was able to deeply connect with the Nepali women I worked with, even considering the huge language barrier between us. It was a joy and honor to teach them. I We spent the lessons laughing and actively interacting with each other, ensuring that they were learning as much as possible. It was very hard to leave them after three weeks. In such a short time, they embraced me into their world.
A truly memorable experience was refereeing two days of soccer. The monks truly love the sport and had a 2 day schoolhouse tournament, which I was requested to referee. The youngest monks were the spectators and cheerleaders, beating plastic bottles and plastic drums, cheering their houses on.They played on a small pitch dug out of the side of (literally) a mountain, the ground was dirt and the goals made out of metal poles. In two hours of soccer, I think I only had to give a single foul, which to me exemplifies the spirit of comradeship and gregarious nature of these incredible people.
In addition to the teaching, I got to work at an orphanage in Kathmandu. I cannot explain the affect of those astoundingly beautiful children. Just to hold a child in need of a hug. To feel a hand slip so readily into yours simply to feel love and affection freely given. To feel special to someone. It bursts your heart. Their delight in each other and what little they have is truly inspiring and I will never forget them.
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