Monday, February 25

Elvina Cao's VOLUNTEER EXPERIENCE in Sri Lanka

I am glad to see my family again. I am staying in Jakarta for one week and will go back to Melbourne soon. I share my experiences and tell my parents about letters from the girls. My mother was touched and cried. I feel glad that my parents support my decision going on a volunteer even though they really concern about my health and safety at first. But in the end after discussing and arguing with them, they emotionally and financially support me to help these kids. They are the ones who keep reminding me to buy gifts for the girls, the auntie and uncle in the Children’s Home. They are the ones who ask me to treat these kids to a nice pizza feast. I feel blessed to be born this way.

Now my task is to send them a letter and print out all the photos that I have taken and send these photos to them as soon as possible. They do not have emails and do not get access to internet so I have to send these via post.

 If you like challenges and want to prove yourself to the greatest limit, I encourage you to go for a volunteer. But beware of the unexpected, things won’t work or happen according to your will. You have to adapt to their culture, lifestyle and be ready that you might get gastroenteritis or some diseases or outbreaks that are endemic in the areas (especially in developing countries) that you are working at.

For me this is a life changing experience. By the end of this volunteer, I learn about a number of things. I challenge myself to step out of my comfort zone, adapting with different cultures, work ethics and environment. I struggled at first but I have faith and am confident I can get this through. My stay in the Children’s Home is only 5 weeks, nevertheless I have achieved so much: motivate and encourage them to love English, help them to memorise vocabs easily through various means such as songs and drawings, give them lots of love and care, helping them with all I can. This experience has increased my communication skills as I have to handle each of them differently since they have different personalities. It further trains my leadership such as guiding the kids and being an exemplar for them, arranging various kinds of activities, and helping them to solve various problems. I have gained more confidence and becoming more optimistic after going through challenges, cultural shock and the unexpected. In addition I meet various interns from different parts of the world, we share our experiences and learn about their cultures.

These kids can not buy anything they wanted, some of them are orphans, and most of them could not meet their parents often. They are restricted to be involved in any kind of romantic relationships, prohibited to watch movies, forbidden to go outside their shelter except schools. They do a lot of rough works: cutting trees, cleaning houses and gardens, a lot of washings. But every day they smile brightly and greet me in the morning and before I sleep at night. Each of them is independent and they cherish their life. This is one of the things that in my opinion is crucial for us to reflect upon. You and me, we have to learn from these kids. Be blessed, live your life to the fullest, and have a faith in what you believe in.

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