we joined the congregational service that was being held at the hospital. this was recommended to us by the chaplain who welcomes all guests. the kids were to sing some songs for the gathering. after listening to a short sermon and some singing, the group was recognized as special guests -- they were invited to come to the front and sing. i had appointed Peter, one of the older jr. youth, to introduce the group. when he went up, none of the other kids followed him to arrange themselves for singing; instead they all remained seated. he spoke quietly and without confidence yet i felt so proud of him for his courage. this is the first time these students are being exposed to anything related to the power of expression in public. they are all learning so much in the process of trying to do new things.
as soon as Peter finished speaking, one of the chaplains invited the 'teacher' (while looking at me) to come and introduce the group. before i could respond, Bilha, one of the mothers, and the friend who introduced me to st. luke's, walked to the front of the congregation and explained briefly who we are and why we had come. the children had started to gather around Peter but they did not organize themselves well. some tall ones were standing in front of shorter ones, and they were overcome by a sense of shyness. all of the joy that i have seen them sing with was hiding inside of them. they managed to sing 2 songs with the help of the congregation's guitarist but they didn't convey the joy or spirit that is in their hearts. as soon as the service was over and we assembled outside to wait for the chaplain, one of the older students came to me and said, 'That was a shame'. i responded that it is a learning, something we can reflect about and learn from.
|listening to instructions|
|washing hands before visiting patients|
|singing to patients|
it's important for me to explain that these students prepared for this service project without any material support except for printing out indemnity forms. i guided and supported their ideas of serving at the hospital and called the chaplain to see if it was ok to come. in our sessions we discussed the math involved for transport and buying fruit; they came up with the idea to walk home to save money on transport which they couldn't afford. they knew which gospel songs they wanted to sing and came up with a plan on how to cover the cost of buying fruit -- some volunteered with pure-hearted joy to contribute extra money to compensate for those who didn't have any money to contribute. they met their financial goals and worked together like a family who protects each other from any sense of loss.
we ended the day with reflections and discussion about what we felt and learned from the experience. i felt like we all grew closer as a group, as well as having shared something special together.