By Talia Louda, Mitzvah Corps Pacific Northwest II 2016 Participant
The day has finally arrived!
Today marked the first day of our highly anticipated work at the International Rescue Committee camp here in Seattle. After taking a few days to settle into our home for the next two weeks, we all woke up this morning ready and eager to start making a difference. Despite an hour long commute including a twenty minute partially uphill walk, we made it to the site in one piece! To prep for actually meeting the refugee children, our IRC program director, Ean, organized an activity in which our group split in half and displayed qualities and communication skills of different communities. This gave us insight to the language barrier existing between us and some of the kids we would be working with, and it helped us think about how to approach it. We were truly ready to start the day.
When I saw the enthusiastic group of kids approaching us, I was instantly reminded of why I came here in the first place- to make a difference in their lives. Right away, everyone in our group greeted the kids and started playing games with the campers. Once we broke off into smaller, more intimate groups, I really got my campers to come out of their shells, allowing me to make some more personal connections with them. As the day progressed, I learned more about the kids and really began to appreciate their braveness. Whether it was making smoothies or playing Duck Duck Goose, there was never a dull moment.
Meeting these kids, I am finally able to pair faces to the idea of what it means to be a refugee child, and I am extremely excited for these next two weeks!