Volunteering - More than just working for free.
With my volunteering time coming to an end, I cant help but feel sad. Six weeks ago I left New Zealand with no expectations yet yearning to serve and help an organisation built to serve and benefit Ecuadorian children. As I go into my sixth week of work it is only now that I feel I am truly benefiting/helping these children.
I wont sugar coat it, these last few weeks have been tough. I have seen things that have broken my heart, and whats worse is feeling so helpless in these situations. Children spending all day on buses, selling candy to help support their family. Children in clothes both filthy and too small or too big for them. Children with rotten teeth and sores all over their body. Children with their own children. Seven weeks of my time feels like only a drop in the barrel, in two weeks I leave, these children will stay. Will my time here make a difference? Will these cildren get the education and the life they deserve? So many questions that I may never know the answer to.
But these children have taught me more than I could ever have taught them. There is no purer love than that of a child's, they love unconditionaly with no thought of race or gender. Most of them dont know my name and our communication is limited, yet everyday they run with open arms to embrace me. They hold my hands, we sing, we dance, we laugh, we sit in silence and comfort each other. They hilariously correct my bad spanish. They want to share what little food they have with me. I have never met such loving, happy children. I have been so unbelievably blessed by these children.
Their lives aren't perfect, the organisation itself isn't perfect but these children are. To be able to give them a few hours a week to play, learn, create and be themselves is truly rewarding. I wholeheartedly recommend this experience to everyone, no matter your age.
They won't remember me in the years to come, they may not even remember the organisation, but I pray that they remember the time they spent in the programme. The friends they made and the fun they had. That volunteers all around the came to Ecuador simply for them.
Although my time here has been unpaid in monetary terms, I have recieved so much love, learnt more about myself and the world. Far more valuable than all the money in the world.
Thank you Quito,
P.s More photos to come, I can only take my camera to the markets my last week for safety reasons.