Volunteer Visits

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Sabeen ShaiqSpeechless Connection

The last thing the children said to me was "please don't forget us, Sis." The tears were already flowing but this just started them all over again. What a heartbreaking thought, that they actually think I could forget them? But SubhanAllah, why wouldn't they think that, they had already been "left and forgotten" by there loved ones when they were swept away by the tsunami. A child's heart sometimes sees things from an emotional viewpoint and not a logical one.

In my feeble attempts of expressing my deep gratitude to the children before I left I wrote them individual, hand written notes in Indonesian Bahasa that had been translated for me by the founder of GiveLight, Dian Alyan. I also vowed to myself that I would learn Bahasa and return to visit the children again in the next few years.

Visiting the small town of Takengon off the beaten path in Central Aceh on the island of Sumatra in Indonesia was an experience that will always be with me. It was an adventure to finally arrive at the orphanage after a long journey both literally and figuratively. Upon arriving I was met with at least 15 pairs of eyes peeking through an open door as I was served delicious sweet Indonesian tea by Sister Dian's aunt and uncle who graciously donated the land that the orphanage sits at. 15 little people had waited for hours out of curiosity to see who I was. It was sweet and warming. As you can probably already tell there were many sweet and heart warming experiences during my three weeks at the orphanage. The children all took such attentive care for me and my needs despite the fact that I was there to attend to their needs and to show them love and care.

The trip wasn't always easy. There were plenty of things that took some adjusting to but the most challenging piece was the language barrier. Both the children and I had such a strong desire to get to know one another but were unable to communicate using verbal communication. The extent of conveying thoughts was through using an English to Bahasa dictionary in which I would literally point out each word in a sentence just to get a question or thought across. But the amount of love and understanding that can be conveyed through non-verbal communication is immense. By simply sitting with the children, praying with them, eating with them, and playing with them a strong bond was built.

Not everyone has the ability or privilege to visit these young innocent souls but everyone can try to sponsor one. All children deserve love, affection, attention, and to have their basic needs met. GiveLight is attempting to do just that. I urge all of you to visit one of the many orphanages if you can but in the mean time InshAllah you can donate your time or money for the cause.