My Volunteer Diary

Hey everyone. I’m starting my first ever official volunteer job tomorrow. I’ll be working for a branch of the Nigerian Red Cross and as excited as I am, I want to share my experience with you. I can’t promise it’ll be EXTREMELY interesting but I can promise that I’ll try my best to put down something everyday. It’s going to be for a duration of about 2 weeks so stay here with me!

DAY 1

So today was officially my first day. I was actually in the car and watching the kids during assembly because I had not been officially introduced to them. It was actually pretty cool. I resumed about 9 something … The kids were in the sand box preparing for Nursery 2’s graduation. I was lost at first with all the teachers knowing each other and all the kids too young to make friends with. But after a while, I was sort of initiated.

Lest I forget, I volunteered as a helper in the school!!! Now back to day 1:

After P.E. (if you don’t know what that is then I’m sorry your childhood was not complete :-(. Lol … Okay physical education), we went into the class and it was time to eat. As I was in the kindergarten class, I had to feed lots of kids but some of them could manage on their own. I left there about 1.30, I think school had closed but there were still a few kids around though.

Striking thought for the day: The older children are so helpful. Water on the floor, someone comes in and gets a mop. Trash, someone picks a broom and sweeps without being asked. Bin full, its emptied almost immediately.

Whatever your hands find to do, do to the best of your ability. You don’t know who’s watching and waiting to bless you.

Till tomorrow,

Signing out with love,

Moi!!!

DAY 2

I got to school today before 8 so I wouldn’t miss assembly. ( I never thought I’d type that ever again!!!!) Anyway, I watched children being dropped off, some crying and others nonchalant, some easily bribed with sweets, others couldn’t be bought and many more scenarios. The orphanage kids soon came down and we all went to the assembly ground. On the assembly ground, the usual – prayers, nursery rhymes and songs – before marching to our classes and our day begun.

Today I was very fortunate (some of you would argue with that term when you read the next bit) to be left alone with about 20 children give or take in a class. I had to keep them entertained and focused and at the same time ensure they were learning with various shouts of ‘I want to wee-wee’ (Forgive me if I don’t know how its spelt X_X) and some of the older kids popping in to check out the new teacher. 😉 After a while though, their teacher came back and I followed the second one to the orphanage proper. The kids had to be dressed up for a visit from the ‘Oba’.

Side note to whom it may concern: An oba is a king from Yoruba land in Nigeria.

Back to the day: I was pleasantly surprised at the workers there. They are few and dedicated and love the children. Most orphanage workers pretend in front of visitors but behind the kids are ill-treated. The Oba was well received. The boys prostrated and the girls knelt with greetings of ‘Kabiyesi’. I left when they went down to have lunch but I had a great time with them today – running, jumping and playing!

Striking thought for the day: The ease at which you can grab a child’s attention is amazing! But keeping the attention is another issue entirely. A child is easily trained though. All the nylons and biscuit wrappers on the floor were picked up and placed in the trash because they knew that that was the right thing to do.

Happiness is relative. You have to embrace situations around you and look for the best in them. No matter how tough or grim life is at any moment, you can find something to smile about even if it’s just the fact that you’re alive to feel anything at all.

Till my next check in,

Much love,

Moi!!!

DAY 3

Assembly time as usual. Class as usual … I started the children today though and was with them most of the time. One of their teachers had to go somewhere for something important and the other one was in and out a lot so I was with them most of the time. It was really fun – for a while. Kids though adorable and fun to be with can be stressful when you have to chase 20 children around a room, make them sit down and keep their attention at the same time!!!  Anyway, it was cool once the tv came on. The next struggle was for ‘who can seat closest to the tv screen’! It was another battle but I’ve learnt in my short two maybe three day stay there that I should let nature run its course and then when the situation demands I can choose to step in.

Today’s Friday so school closed earlier than usual and I left there about an hour later with poster colour stains on my trousers. The older kids were painting and apparently got bored with paper. They resorted to painting each other!!! It was FUN-ny!!! 😀

Striking thought for the day: Teachers try their best but sometimes parents contradict their teachings. A parent almost beat her son today just because he won’t hit a girl that hit him first. A teacher had to stop her – it was that bad!!!

Don’t judge a book by its cover. Just because everything seems okay on the surface doesn’t mean its all good within so be sensitive to people around you and don’t just jump to conclusions until you walk like 6 miles in their shoes.

Had mad fun today though,

Till next week,

Moi!!!

DAY 4

I skipped assembly today. Decided to stay back and arrange the class instead – It was pretty organized for about 10 minutes then the kids started moving chairs about. Oh well!!! Today I actually TAUGHT – as in 1 TO 10 teaching, It was great!!! After lunch, I also helped the older kids with their assignments on letters and simple math. I actually felt like a teacher and the simple joy derived when they understand what you’re trying to teach them is inexplicable :-D.

One thing though – The level of begging among children is discouraging. Some even lie that something’s theirs to eat it. This is the time to curb them and let them understand the value of contentment. If you indulge them now then you just may regret it later.

Striking thought for the day: Parents be very straight forward. Some parents just drop their kids off and school and ‘run away’ because they haven’t paid fees or some find something that isn’t for their child in his/her bag and still keep it. Your reputation precedes you. There are some parents that it would be said of ‘They can never do this’. Be part of the positive!!!

There are many ways to solve a problem. Your duty is to find the most efficient and apply it.

Talk to you later,

Hugs and kisses,

Moi!!!

DAY 5

Public holiday today – I went there though I didn’t know. Anyway, I kicked it at the orphanage today. The kids are AH-MAZING!!! Another teacher (the one I was helping) showed up as well so They had a little lesson session. First of all, I was regretting my wardrobe choice for the day. I had on a white jacket and white trimmings on my top. Other than that, I had on black!

As I walked up, the kids ran to me before running off to finish their lesson. Anyway, I stayed with the really little ones until they went to eat and went to join the lesson fellas. They were learning to spell and numbers and colors and shapes – It was quite interesting. After a while, which is typical of children, they started getting restless. I tried to keep some of them entertained by drawing animals and having them guess what animal it was. It was fun for a while until this ‘character’ just rains on everyone’s parade and becomes very controlling. It got to the point that I was irritated when she tried to force them to say ‘double ‘l” instead of ‘ll‘ when spelling ‘yellow‘. I mean C’mon! Some of those kids were just chanting it, they didn’t really know how to spell it.

On the brighter side, after that, I played two videos for them – ‘Rise‘ by the McClain Sisters and China Ann McClain’s cover of Taylor Swift’s ‘White Horse‘. I can honestly say I had fun until someone came to chase them to bed and in less than 15 minutes they ran down to have lunch. I left then … It was quite a short day for me but I had tremendous fun!

Striking thought for the day: Some people like to be noticed. They have to resort to EXTRA uses of force or extra LOUD voices for their points too be made and the children ABSOLUTELY do not respect these people – fear them? maybe a little sometimes but respect? a definite no!

You do not demand respect. Demanding it diminishes you … Respect is commanded. It is just a presence around you and your attitude in a large way calls for people to either diss you or miss you.

Sorry its really late,

Signing out a little tired,

Moi!!!

DAY 6

Today it was raining cats and dogs! I went all the same – I kind of had to 🙂 I got to the class and it was upside down. Painters came in yesterday and apparently trashed the place. Okay don’t go so far ahead of yourselves, it wasn’t that bad – at least when I got there. Today was so so. The general atmosphere was dull because of the rain. But after dancing the energy picked up and I went in to ginger them up a little bit with simple exercises they could do and then we started doing some sort of oral revision – mainly English, C.R.S. (Christian Religious Studies) and Social Studies/General Knowledge/Current Affairs (I really don’t know what you guys would call it).

Lunch time, play time then assignment time with the older kids. It was a really stressful day considering the fact that I slept at about 3am and was up early this morning!

Something I’ve noticed though, whenever I wear dark colors consciously I end up going home with a new stain.

Striking thought for the day: Once you put some thing into a song, you can teach little children almost anything!!! I mean these kids were singing

‘Euro Asia Australia Afica Antatica Notasat Amewica these are the continents all the whole word word’

translated

‘Europe, Asia, Australia, Africa, Antarctica, North and South America; These are the continents o’er the whole wide world.’

Its never too early to start learning life skills – being helpful and being considerate – and its never too late to apply them.

Love yourself and love somebody,

Loads of love as well,

Moi!!!

Sorry I’ve not updated in a while. I’ll update the days I’ve missed now!!!

DAY 7

Today was super fun! We had a party all day today so I was outside. There really wasn’t much to do after sharing ice cream and popcorn but I had to keep the smallest kids away from Ben 10 and Barney. They were terrified of them. The party rocked though!!! Dancing, games, everyone just let loose. It was a sponsored party – I think a sort of launch – because the Red Cross compound was being painted. Due to this the party was mostly painting volunteers, children, school workers, the orphanage workers and the office workers. A few executives from the company that sponsored the event were present as well. There was lots of food after as well 😀 and lots of music. We went back to the school after the party then the kids ate and I left. I sort of left early today though.

Striking thought for the day: Some people just want to get things for free. Its not that they cannot afford it or don’t already own one but just because its free, they want to fight for it. It can be irritating at times and downright shameful for the people involved. We need to change our mentality from ‘gimme gimme’ to ‘thank you’. That isn’t to say that we shouldn’t be competitive but watch what you’re competing for.

Be honest in all your dealings. You never know who’s watching.

Sorry it’s late,

Tata for now,

Moi!!!

DAY 8

Tomorrow’s my last day!!! Its mixed feelings. I was super exhausted today because I slept at about 4 and I was up by 6. X_X My bad!!! 😦 Today was sort of stressful though. The smallest kids were writing today so it was testing the boundaries of my patience. I needed to give them enough space to write and at the same time try not to over push them. It was tough striking a balance but I succeeded – at least with most of them. 😀 Another trying part of today was getting everyone’s food to them on time. Their teacher was out during break time so I had to give them their lunch and I had ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA what was who’s. Its a wonder I pulled that off while feeding some kids. It was only God o because I don’t know how I didn’t pull my hair out! Lol …

Anyway I had lots of fun with them today. We did loads of simple exercises that have surprisingly become a hit with these kids. *Aside* Go me! Go me!! Go me!!! *Back to story*. 😀 We recited rhymes, sang and the finality of it all sort of hit me 😦 but I’m determined to enjoy every last minute of it. I have bonded with many of them its unbelievable. Some of them even come to me with their little issues before their aunties if they tell them at all.

The older kids are amazing as well. From chasing them to their classes when they peep in to helping them with home work after school, every one of them is different and special. I know it sounds kind of cliche but its totally true!

Striking thought for the day: To be justified in whatever you do and to have people back you up and vouch for you, you have to be diligent at whatever you do. When you are, people around you actually look up to you whether they openly acknowledge it or not and at the end of the day they can tell you that this person can or can’t do this.

Don’t complain. It just makes things even worse – Look to God and ultimately do your best. Anything less, you’ll regret. Anything more, then its not your absolute best you’re giving.

Love love love,

xoxoxox,

Moi!!!

DAY 9

Today was my last day!!! It started with P.E. but sadly the rain also started. 😦 Anyway, the children in nursery 2 were preparing for their graduation. We watched for a while since our ball game was interrupted by the rain. Before playing ball, we had a super fun round of different aerobic exercises and a frog jump race! Back to Nursery 2 – They were preparing for their graduation so it was rehearsal time. An idea came up for them to choreograph a song. I was itching to chip in but I held my tongue and at the end of the day the dance was cancelled since they really didn’t have a routine. 😦 Was it my fault on some level? X_X

In class, I decided to continue the physical activity because the  energy level was super high. We played around a bit and then sat and played and jumped and played and ate and played – basically interjecting every activity with playing!!! 😀 Today i decided though to give them free unrestrained play time butting in only when someone was being hurt. It actually worked!!! 😀 Half the class fell asleep because they were tired and two thirds of the other half was seated. It was an amazing day though … It was like the older children had a sixth sense that I was leaving because they were all over me today 😥

I know it wasn’t the most interesting account or experience but I learnt a lot – Patience topping the list!!!

Striking thought for the day: Even at kindergarten level, there is already a social class system. There is always this one person that everyone does what he does and rarely do they go against what he wants them to do. We need to try and reduce the severity of this class system as early as possible because it would surely exist – but we need to minimize its effects.

Your reputation precedes you. If its good, fine! If not, the day you actually do something contrary to that representation, people would find it hard to believe you. In short, present yourself in a way that people always speak good of you and you’ll be sure to strive to live up to that reputation.

Thanks for staying with me,

It was loads of fun,

Moi!!!

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One thought on “My Volunteer Diary

  1. Pingback: E go better … But it starts with you « Chilling with Shay

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