Hope Shines Inc.

Hope Shines Inc.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Homeward Bound for Hope Shines Volunteers

Kalee here! A first year Hope Shines volunteer. Today was our last official day of Hope Shines 2015 camp, which concluded with finishing up health checkups for the remainder of the kids.

When they arrived each child received a notecard that asked basic questions such as name, age, dietary inquiries, and malaria history within the last year. Following these questions the kids traveled to different stations which were run by volunteers. A height, weight, and shoe size would be measured for each child followed by an eye exam. The results were written on the notecard and presented to either Dr Stephanie or Dr Scott. This allowed the visits to run more quickly and provided the doctors with some background information regarding each child's health. This year was the first that Hope Shines had two doctors performing health check ups which really helped the day run efficiently.

Dr. Scott teaching about fluoride and teeth
After their meeting with the doctors everyone received underwear, socks, laundry soap, toothbrushes and toothpaste. Dan and Stephanie lead a lesson on proper teeth brushing and oral hygiene which the kids really seemed to enjoy. We learned that most children, and a good number of adults in Rwanda haven't ever been to the dentist. Dental care in expensive in Rwanda and usually not an option for many families because of this.

Brian getting his fluoride treatment
After fluoride treatments and further supply handouts it was time to say our final goodbyes to the children we spent the week growing and learning with. Coming in as a new volunteer I had no idea how close I would become with these kids in such a short time. From the first day of camp to the last they welcomed me with nothing but open arms and friendly smiles- this is a kindness I will never forget.

This year as a Hope Shines organization we only held one summer camp instead of the usual two. This was a result of changing policies in the government of Rwanda, which began closing all orphanages and placing the children with new families. As an organization who had worked with these same children for seven years, our hearts felt heavy knowing the "families" and connections that existed in these orphanages would soon be lost.

We traveld to Sinapisi and Peace Village, the location of our former camp which housed about 100 children in years before but now consisted of only 15. The children were excited to see many of the volunteers that they had grown to know and love, but were disappointed there was no camp this year. We dropped off some medical supplies and clothes that were left over from camp and said our final goodbyes. The mama that looked over the children informed us that the last 15 would be placed in homes by the end of the week.

As a small organization we work hard to reach out to others in Rwanda and make connections in country as well as out of country. This trip we met many interesting people that will hopefully help us to touch more lives here in Rwanda in the future.

As a first year volunteer I was blown away by the beauty of this country and its people. The amount of love and respect I received from each and every person I met in was unlike anything I have ever experienced. I am thankful for the connections I made with the volunteers and the children this summer, and hope to be back next year for another life changing experience! Thank you Rwanda, I will never forget you.

Fanta and cake celebration at the end of camp!

Me and Olivia in our "positions" at the back of the van!

No comments:

Post a Comment