HCC Volunteer Experience

Laura Donovan: Summer of 2006

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There is something to be said about time here in the north. Without a watch, people seem to have impeccable timing. Richard (the fantastic HCC volunteer) and I pulled up to the volunteer house, just as Joe (the incredible coordinator) and Roland (the amazing watchman) were finishing up, and awaiting our arrival.

After an evening’s rest, Richard and I made the short trek over to Horizons Children’s Centre. From a distance I could see Yaw in his wheelchair, surrounded by a few of the younger boys (his helpers I was told). Greeted by handshakes (with a snap), eager smiles, and a welcoming celebration with songs, drumming and dancing, I knew a week was going to slip by way too fast. Richard had explained to me just how hard the boys study during the school year, so I thought that while school was out, I’d give them some time to play. My plan was to run collaborative games for the week, to teach them how to work as a team and trust each other. But I learned quickly that they would have nothing of the sort before a competitive game of football (on a bumpy dirt field in bare feet!) or volleyball. I’ll play, I said, but they’d have to try mine too!

By the end of the week, the boys had experienced many new games. One HCC favourite was a spin-off of a volleyball game called Nuke’em, where we all realized that it was avoidable for the big boys to run over the little ones. It worked out so well that Joe says they are still playing it today! Other activities, meant to build trust and team effort, were performed better than any group of Canadian kids I had ever witnessed. They carried their teammates over small planks, supported each other using only branches, and ran full speed through trust waves like no others! Observing their daily lives, I learned that this was because these boys had to rely on each other everyday. They’re family, and they can already trust one another.

Before I knew it, Peter and Prosper picked up the drums once again, and it was time. I have an everlasting impression of all the wonderful, hardworking people that bring happiness to the boys at HCC and the good people of Sandema. And special thanks to Richard, Joe and Roland, for seeing to it that I made the bus to Bolga …just in time.