Happy summer, everyone! I write to you from my home country, Taiwan, where I will be spending the rest of my summer. While Taiwan is certainly an awesome place to be, things can get old, especially when spending more than two months here. So, I've decided to use my time here volunteering as well as planning and leading some local summer camps.
I am currently volunteering at a specialized school for blind students. In addition to being visually impaired, 80 percent of the students also suffer from various mental and health issues such as Autism, and most are slow in learning. Many children enter the school without even knowing how to walk or go to the bathroom on their own. As a result, rather than teaching common school subjects such as math, history, Chinese, etc, I've been assisting the students with various life skills, language comprehension, speaking abilities, and physical activities.
My time at this school has been beyond humbling. While the students I serve have various disabilities, that does not make them any less lovable than any other individual. In my class, one kid purses his lips when he's hungry, another kid loves to sing, another loves to hug and sit on people's laps, and another pronounces "good morning" as "mo-mo-ning." Interacting with the students and getting to know their quirks and personalities makes me cherish each one of them as God's wonderful creation.
Every Friday afternoon, the teachers and volunteers take the kids for a 20 minute walk outside the campus. The kid whom I guide gets pretty fidgety and hard to control. So to calm him down, a teacher wrapped a portable speaker around my arm and played music from it. As an avid music lover, the kid clung to my arm and rested his ear against the speaker so as to listen to the music more clearly. From a distance, it either looked like he was tired and resting against my arm, or that he really liked me. In reality though, he was simply listening intently to the music playing from the speaker.
It's experiences like these that make my heart melt. But more importantly, it's experiences like these that make me proud to serve these little angels, however many times they may scream in my ear or pinch me until I bleed (yes, that has happened).
Many people remark about how fortunate they feel to be living in privilege after witnessing the lives of those who lack such benefits. And while I do feel fortunate with my ability to see so clearly, I feel even more fortunate to know and serve these kids who sing when music isn't playing, and laugh when there's no reason to laugh.