I woke up super early on Saturday Feb 2nd, 2013. Excited about the prospect of spending all day doing something fun with our local children. Also nervous about being able to get ready on time as I had only about an hour to prepare something nice for our kids’ lunch. Maidah, our lead volunteer for local project has been working hard to plan the trip, from coordinating with mentors and making sure we have enough seats in the car. The mentors made sure that all of the children have their snow wear, from boots to jacket to gloves and caps.
We managed to arrive at our meeting point and left on time around 8:30 am. Nine chaperones, thirteen kids ages 5-19, in 6 cars. The drive was about three hours but we knew it would be worth it. As we got into 4000 ft. elevation, we started seeing snow on the hills and mountains – the kids could barely contain their excitement. For seven of our kids it was the first time they saw snow. That reminded me of my first snow experience when I moved to Cincinnati from Jakarta. These kids grew up in Africa so I could relate to the feeling; that magical moment when you touched something so pure, so white, so cold for the first time in your life. Unforgettable moments.
We arrived safely in Pinecrest a little before noon. The kids jumped down the car, quickly put on their boots, jackets, and gloves, chose their sleds, discs, and ran to the hills. We caught up and within minutes we found ourselves having a snow fight, while some of our kids were going down and up the slopes. Big smiles, laughters and screams of those who were hit by snowballs. A few kids were shy and or their guards in the beginning but after sometime, they started throwing big snowballs to me and laughed victoriously when they hit target. I looked at how happy they were, playing together and realized there and then how precious all of them are to me.
After lunch we went for another round of sledding, snow fighting and building a snowman. It took a lot of persuasion to gather the kids and tell them it’s time to leave. They were having way too much fun. As we drove back, we witnessed the most spectacular sunset adorning the sky as if nature itself is approving and joining us in our joy.
We arrive at our chosen restaurant an hour later for dinner and the kids were enthusiastically sharing their excitement. In their own words, here are the highlights:
“I was very excited. I was thrilled with all the snow. It was very fun to make new friends and have special time with my mentor. I would love to go again with either GiveLight or my mom and siblings. Thank you for making this possible.”
“It was the best snow experience in the world.”
“It was so much fun, more than I’ve imagined.”
“I loved it very much, it was so fun! Thank you Dian and G.L. family for everything.”
“The thing I liked is when we were going down the slides and also when we made the snow man. Thanks to you, we had fun!!”
“The snow trip was a wonderful experience! I don’t have enough words to express how I’m feeling by just remembering it. Thank you Dian and GiveLight family. We’re so blessed to know you. By just putting a smile on our faces, you have made a big difference in our hearts to always do good and make others happy.”
“It’s a blessing from God that most of our dreams come true, such as seeing the snow. Every time it’s by the hands of blessed people like GiveLight family and many others, which will always motivate us to help others.
I really enjoyed the trip to the Snow Park. I had a really good time and met new people, played in the Snow, and awesome food made by Sr. Dian and Sr. Maida.
And in the words of our lead volunteer, Maidah;
“The most memorable part of the snow trip for me was when we all came down the slopes for lunch and each kid eagerly asked me when they could go back up again! It made me realize how much fun they were actually having. We thank our Creator.
When I started GiveLight, I did not plan to fall in love with the children we help. It was more about finding a meaningful way to manifest the desire to save lives. But everywhere I went since; Indonesia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Morocco, and most recently on the snow slopes; I found my heart melting in the innocent presence of their smiles. Without being able to control it, my love has grown deeper for all of the children under our care. I can feel that the love that grew in my heart is as pure as the snow, sprinkled from heaven by the source of all love.
And what is more beautiful in this life than love?