One of my CAS activities for Service was being a volunteer at the semi-colonies in Zohva (Ukraine). Even though, they lasted for only two weeks, they influenced me in a very significant way. Not only because of experiences I had there, but mostly because of the people I met.
From the very beginning, I was extremely enthusiastic for spending two weeks of my summer holidays on helping people in need. My aim was to take care of Ukrainian children and teach them basics of Polish and English. Because of the fact, that I like children very much, I really enjoyed working with them. During long hours spent on repeating correct pronunciation of the word “three”, I realised how patience and positive attitude can perform miracles. It was incredible to observe the progress my students were making step by step every day.
However, it is essential to say, that beyond teaching, there was something much more important. We were singing songs, dancing and simply having fun together. I understood that everyone is somehow different, but this difference really makes people precious. Most of the children, didn’t have any problems with communication, nor ‘public performances’. If they could, they would just sit on my knees, hold my hand or comb my hair without even knowing me. However some of them were shy and a little bit afraid at first. They needed time to give me the first hug or simply to talk to me. I’ll never forget one boy who did everything just to feel that I do care about him. Because the most important outcome of each was that we were getting closer and closer to each other. And I’m not talking only about the friendships with children but also with other volunteers and Sisters who live there.
It is impossible to describe how amazingly I felt staying up late just to sing together, talk to each other and watch the sky lying on the springboard. I wish you all to feel something like this one day. Because this trip wasn’t about Zohva itself, but about the people who were there with me. And that’s why, my Ukrainian story wasn’t over after two weeks and it still isn’t over. It’s just on the stand-by, waiting for another sunny day to come.
Aleksandra Ślubowska 2 IB