Volunteering in one of the local daycare centers was quite the experience as I was able to see firsthand how important it is to learn English at such an early age, especially in a poverty stricken country, such as the Philippines. I didn’t spend my time simply teaching English, however, I also taught simple things such as shapes, colors, songs, using manners, and how to show respect.
Those kids taught me that its a choice to be happy every single day and that no matter how bad you think something is, you’re completely wrong. They taught me how to have fun playing patty cake and singing songs. They taught me how to dance and poke fun. And most importantly they taught me how to love something unconditionally and never look back; those kids taught me how to love. And for that, I am forever grateful.
I feel that I gained as much as the children did from my experience that month. I really learned a lot of life lessons from the children and people of the town. One thing that I really enjoyed was getting to teach them new things and see their faces light up with their new found knowledge. I even got to learn a little of the Xhosa language throughout my stay from the children who were not afraid to share. I really enjoyed watching the children progress with the new things that I had taught them throughout my stay. All in all it was a surreal experience that I hope to soon experience again.
There is a very special thing about this population, you can form relationships without much conversation. Even though I speak basic Hebrew, it wasn’t enough to converse; however, I was able to make quick connections with the participants by engaging in the activities that they enjoyed i.e. jewelry making and card games.
I loved working in the garden, Shlomo was a great teacher. It was lovely being able to spend a few hours under the sun, working with such beautiful flowers; especially since I come from a big city! The plants grown in the greenhouse are also grown by the students, and they later sell them to raise money for the school. I also got to work with the animals, which was my favorite part. The school has chickens, geese, ducks, rabbits, birds, chinchillas, and more that I’m sure I’ve forgotten. I loved my baby goats the most!.
My favorite part of the day was on the way to the Old City when we passed a group of palm trees. Our guide made us stop and told us to look at all the trees. He asked if they were all the same and then explained how each palm tree was a tree that grew slightly differently. For me this was the perfect image of Israel, a place where everyone is growing separately yet still a unit growing and developing together. It made me realize that life is not about them or us, but about everyone just in different places.
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