Volunteering at The China Care Home-- Final Day, Summer 2010

July 28, 2010

    

Final day – by Catherine Lee

The last ten days have passed by in a blur. It seems like only yesterday that we were being shown around the facility. I still remember vividly the sense of anticipation and excitement that filled each room as we introduced ourselves to the children. Many of them greeted us with bright smiles, excitedly calling us “jie jie” and “ge ge” and begging to be picked up. Even the children that who were shy at first quickly warmed up to us.

One of the children I will always remember is a little girl named MengJie. Born with two clubbed feet, her feet are constricted by two casts that are attached by a bar. I was greatly moved and inspired by her determination to move around despite her tremendous disability. When I first arrived, she was wary of me, crying whenever I approached her. But gradually, after much perseverance on my part, she began to warm up to me. Although it sounds trivial, I felt especially proud when she insisted that I be the one to feed her lunch. It made me smile when she mistakenly called me “mama” and it broke my heart when she cried as I left the room.

Although I arrived at the China Care Home as a volunteer, I immediately felt as if I was joining a large, extended family.  All of the children address the nannies as “mama” and they see the other children as their brothers and sisters. I remember one “mama” teaching a toddler the words for family members once she realized he could speak.  It was so touching to see the two repeating the words over and over until he pronounced them correctly.

Tomorrow I will be waking up early again. But this time I will be boarding a plane, not heading down to the Home to visit the children. I will always cherish this eye-opening experience and all the fond memories and important lessons I have accumulated along the way. Although they are so young, the children have helped me understand and appreciate the importance of love and family. Their ability to laugh and smile again despite having endured such painful obstacles will forever be inspiration to me.

I am so proud to be able to call myself a China Care member. Being able to see this side of the Foundation motivates me to work even harder at being a better club member, student, daughter – and really a better person. And it is all thanks to the children, I wish for them all the best. They deserve every bit of happiness that China Care gifts to them.


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