I have a good friend I have met here that volunteers a lot and I was always inspired by him. One day I happened to notice that he was going to volunteer on an event on facebook and I thought to myself, why don’t I sign up as well. I was a bit apprehensive about volunteering by myself in a foreign country at first but this experience at the Aemin Orphange made me feel more comfortable with it.
The first part was looking for sponsors for the 48 children for Christmas presents within a set price range. The event was also looking for 20 volunteers to donate their time. I decided to sponsor a child and to volunteer my time. I did not get to meet the child that I sponsored, but I did get to meet a lot of other children and watch them enjoy playing with the volunteers and each other. They also enjoyed opening up their Christmas gifts.
The man who organized the event told us a bit about the orphanage, that many of the children aren’t necessarily orphans. Many times their parents just don’t have enough to raise them so they give them to the orphanage. They may see their parents from time to time. Some of the other children are orphans though and they range from infants until college age kids. I was amazed that even kids going to college were able to stay at the orphanage and continue to be taken care of while they go to school.
We were asked to bring games or make activities for the kids to do while we were there. Someone made cookies to decorate and a little girl gave me a cookie. I felt really special receiving that cookie.
Volunteering that one Saturday opened up my eyes to many things, but more importantly that it is all right to stand on a limb and do things alone sometimes. Granted I ended up seeing two people I knew, but it made me feel whole inside like I had spent my Christmas the right way by helping others. Living in another country that may give me a new meaning to the holiday and shape how I celebrate it in the future. This was definitely a very great experience and I was happy to share my candy canes with the kids.