Summer Volunteer Program 2019: it felt like I was saying goodbye to a family

Jusoor Summer Volunteers Program

Day 18: Friday, August 9, 2019

Zeenah Sabbidine, Lebanon-United States

The final day of Jusoor came to a close with a talent show prepared by one of the volunteers. The kids came running into my classroom like bursts of energy. There was one with his skates, the other with a soccer ball excited and ready to share their talents. A few of the girls in my class gathered around me asking if they could sing a song and so they all showed the class their talents before heading upstairs.

The multi-purpose room was filled with joy, laughter, excitement as it was the last day and the kids were eager to see the show. There was a wide variety of talents demonstrated such as dancing, singing, skits, poems, handstands, the laughter and the smiles filled the entire room. As each classroom had a few students present talents, I noticed just how comfortable the volunteers were with their kids and vice versa. The kids would often look back at their volunteer teacher for guidance, proving just how much, they confided in them. In these moments I realized that yes, we were only with them for three weeks, but it is truly incredible what little time we had and how quickly bonds grew. I was one of the few who was able to speak Arabic so personally I did not have a language barrier with the kids. However, so many of the volunteers did yet it was unbelievable how well many of them were able to communicate with just facial expressions and body language.

At the end of the talent show we all came back to class, played a quick game and made marshmallow and spaghetti towers for our last activity. At the end of third period I said goodbye to my kids and wished them all the best in life. Then what may have been an even harder goodbye was to our incredible co-teachers. Fourth period entailed music, dancing, baklava, tears, and some photos. There was so much love in the room it felt like I was saying goodbye to a family I learned so much about and had this unforgettable experience with.

 

Avo, our coordinator gave a speech thanking the co-teachers and later thanking us in Jurrahiya for our efforts and devotion to the program. It was an experience not to be forgotten, an experience I will always hold dearly with me and ground me in my future endeavors. There are still many unanswered questions I have but I realize that is OKAY. I found Jusoor a few months ago just surfing the internet in my college dorm room, reading about it and applying that same day. I joined this summer program with the simple goal to provide the little help that I could. I came in ignorant of what I would encounter and what challenges I would face. We come to these camps not just to help but also to learn and I can say I have learned immensely. I thank the staff, the coordinators, the funders for all their efforts in continuing to strive for a better education for the Syrian refugee community. A truly unforgettable experience that has up to this point been one of the most gratifying in my life.

Zeenah is volunteering at Jusoor’s educational centers in Lebanon during July and August 2019 as part of the Summer Volunteer Program. You can read more posts by our volunteers here.

Posted on August 12, 2019 in Summer Program 2019, Volunteers

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