HCC Volunteer Experience

Kristen O'Reilly and Sara Dubreuil: January - May 2010


It's hard to put into words the emotions we felt upon arriving in Sandema, and even more unexpected how difficult it was to say goodbye. In January 2010, we arrived to Sandema together, excited to start what was sure to be an incredible adventure yet unsure of what was ahead.

Despite being so far away from home, the people of Sandema and the Horizon's Centre couldn't have made us feel any more welcome. Everyone showed an overwhelming willingness to include us in their community, whether it was by showing us where to buy the freshest vegetables, sharing local customs or providing us with a bench in the shade.

We expected to travel and have a new adventure for four months, but we never expected to become part of a new family. The highlight of our time in Sandema revolved around the boys of HCC. Through many activities such as; a reading program, teaching extra classes and organizing extra-curricular activities (Field Day, a birthday party for everyone, Arts and Crafts projects, and bonfires) we got to know each of the boys and their individual personalities. To say that each of the boys touched our hearts is an understatement. Each day we were amazed by their appreciation for life, their loyalty and love for one another and their openness to sharing their lives with us. Our decision to volunteer at HCC was inspired by the opportunity to work with and teach the boys of HCC. In turn, we realized how much their positive and giving outlook on life taught and inspired us. For that, and all of the memories we shared, our time in Sandema will always be one of the best experiences of our lives.