There are no bad days, only good days and great days!

My experience at the IHF center in Jakarta has been a roller coaster. I first experienced the low of my roller coaster when I was leaving my country and I faced many complications at the airport security. All of my excitement to come to center had begun to vanish, I feared that maybe I would not even be able to come. However, through it all, I learned the virtue of patience and cooperation, which then led me to the anticipated arrival at the Jakarta center. What a relief it was to finally arrive. I think that it is safe to say that I was happier than a small child on Christmas morning.

I arrived at a peaceful center, although not anticipated it turned out to be quite lovely as I was in need of some down time. There was one other volunteer from my school at the center as well as Maria – the co-director. Maria greeted me with nothing but smiles and kindness, making me feel at home right away. She spoke of her role here at the center and informed me about her life. I admire her for her compassion and courage to pick up her life in Spain and dedicate an entire year to a cause that she believes in. For a moment it made me feel like I should be contributing more than just two weeks of my life, but through time I discovered that everyone has a role to play in making change happen. One week, two weeks or five years – no contribution is less significant than the other. Thus, I continued to contribute my piece of good with a full heart.

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However, I must say that I have never really been able to get to the intensive heat every day. Additionally, despite the accommodation being much different than I am used to in my own country it was because of the lovely individuals and the hospitality in the center make it all worthwhile. In specific, Ebu, the cook, and her two little girls had the largest impact on me. Every day they would arrive at the center by bicycle and before anyone of us would open our eyes they had already begun clearing the mess from the night before and began cooking right after. I really respected them and continually thanked them for their work. The two girls absolutely warmed my heart they are always very polite and kind to all of the kids. They taught that it doesn’t matter what our upbringing is, whether we are rich or poor, that it doesn’t determine our future. They also inspired me to self-reflect on my own life often I take things for granted and forget to enjoy every moment. I get caught up in the hustle bustle of life and get discouraged. Despite their age, those girls taught me more in these last eight days than I have learned in all of my years in school.

My experience at IHF Jakarta center has been a roller coaster and definitely unlike any other. I have traveled and been to many different places in the world, but there is something about this experience that has hit a soft spot and I cannot disregard it. I am still unsure how to put it all into words; however, what I am sure about is that this definitely will definitely not be my last volunteer experience. The people, the culture, the places have enticed me to continue my journey.

By: Leo

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