Thoughts of a volunteer after one week

Kait

Kait arrived from America ahead of the others who will be helping to take the children on holiday and what a week it’s been! Firstly, I have been under the weather (although the weather has been nice) with flu-type symptoms and a gruff voice or no voice at all to complicate things.

Kait will be supporting Miss N on the holiday and this extra time to get to know her will be invaluable. Kait has already expressed how sweet the children are, but has also seen at first hand what seizures can look like. Mr S had three on Thursday, which took him back to sick ward to get meds and sleep it off.

God orchestrated that both Friday and Monday would be days off, due to Bank Holidays, which has helped in a few ways. It gave us time to go to buy some swimsuits for the children, do some paperwork and do a little sightseeing with some other friends too. It also gave me a chance to get my voice back.

I am always aware that it’s hard to prepare for coming out to volunteer, because you can’t know what you are getting into… so I asked Kait how she felt and if she had felt prepared and this was her answer:

”I suppose that when I entered into this experience, as a volunteer with 1Step2Step, I had anticipated and prepared for the worst case scenario as far as possible concerning what the reality of life in a Thai orphanage would be like for the children. Despite what I felt was a good grasp on the topic, it didn’t take long to be overwhelmed by the truth of institutional care. I’ve explained to some friends and family back home that I’m not sure I’ll be able to articulate or talk about what I’ve seen here. It’s a life and circumstance that I don’t understand having seen it in person, so to explain it to others seems impossible. I also don’t foresee myself detaching from the emotions it brings enough to allow myself to talk about it.

 

Working with Nicola and 1Step2Step is what I thought it would be coming into it. I’m glad it’s an opportunity that challenges me and teaches me, instead of letting me coming in and “do as I’ve always done.”  It’s a difficult volunteer experience, but not in any negative way; I’m being pushed to grow and extend past a comfort zone I wasn’t even aware I was limiting myself by. The expectations are fair and the experience everything I could have imagined.

 

The greatest challenge was an unexpected one. Coming from a hospital setting where I aid feeding people regularly, I was shocked when I attempted to feed one of the children and the massive struggle of navigating the challenges that come with feeding a special needs child. Aside from the obvious trials and obstacles of working in an institution, I feel already as if I have found my place here. The children and the people are so easy to relate to and connect with, plus the food is pretty great. ”

 

One week in. I wonder how these feelings will change or stay the same. I am guessing presently it’s a real eye-opener to life for others. Kait’s work with adults makes the lifting of the children in my group seem easy and so for that factor it’s certainly a blessing. The kids like her for sure, with Mr B seeking her hand on many occasions, Miss N content in her company and Mr S and Mr G often giving her beaming smiles.

I’m sure she will do fine with us.

Nicola Anderson.

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