mandag, september 18, 2006

Volunteer to hug

Home of Praise gives many things to it's children: food, friends, activities and place to stay during the day. But everybody in the kindergarten knows that the most important thing is still the contact with adults who have time and energy to talk and play with them. But what about if you wouldn't share the same language with the children? Or you wouldn't even understand what their life is like or what their parents and homes are like?

That was my challenge as a volunteer worker from Finland who joined HOP four months ago.

Happily it didn't take long until we found one shared language with the children - nearness. I became as a hug automat and enjoyed my role even thought the other teachers didn't always quite agree with it. Upbringing in Thailand seems to include a bit less tenderness at least with the older (three years old) children. By now I'm ofcourse able to talk with the children too, but it's still most fun to hug and hold them. And... I have to admit that in front of all these challenges that this ten months period in Thailand has offered to me I have been in a need of a big hug quite often too.

Ofcourse it was very revarding to work with the older children in the afternoon activities too because with them I were able to use my skills of art and english. But if there is a memory that I will carry with me all the way it is that in Home of Praise my lap was never empty.

With all the best,
Saija Raskulla