It is funny how a small act of kindness can impact so many beautiful lives at once. The time that you give, the effort that you put in just to make a difference in society, however small is indeed worth it. I say this as a volunteer at PACEmaker international.
For the last couple of months, I have been volunteering as a teaching assistant at Ncooro and currently at Faith Junior Educational Centre. There’s quite a lot to share about my experience and because I don’t want it to seem like I’m writing an essay to one of my lecturers, I will minimize it.
I have interacted with children who don’t have enough teachers, books, or school fees due to various reasons. I have come across others who can barely read or pronounce simple English words, not because they don’t want to, but they didn’t have the opportunity to learn when they were younger. I have seen an intelligent child who occasionally aced it in dictation but on one occasion, was unable to spell her name, ‘Bridgette’ because her parents had fought the previous night, and therefore when she came to school the following day her mind was in disarray. I have met a child who witnessed his own mothers’ death during the Salva Kiir ordeal and therefore at times he can’t help but be a “rough kid” as others would term it.
This is not their fault. Therefore, my colleagues and I strived to fill their school days’ with cherishable moments and to make the school a safe space for them to grow their skills, talents, and educational knowledge. The growth was seen when my colleagues and I started up clubs, had interpersonal interactions with them, helped with their school work as well as literacy skills. We made them feel that teachers were like their normal friends.
It’s interesting how I was recently helping Mitchell with her math work at around 10 pm, but hold up! I wasn’t at their house at the time. Remember there’s curfew and lockdown? So we did it on WhatsApp through an out of school programme by PACE. This honestly took me way back to the days I didn’t have to worry about school projects. It is such a delight when walking on the streets and a child from school notices you and actually runs towards you to greet you. Oh, my heart!
I have met inspiring coordinators as well as facilitators who have been imparting us with skills during the regular training sessions for PACE fellows. If you told me I would have done a sustainable project for a primary school three-four months back, I’d literally think you were crazy LOL! My confidence is currently on another level. I have learned so many things about myself that I had not known before. I have met people who were once strangers but are currently one of my closest friends due to this program. I have volunteered with the best teammates (Joy, Collins, Faith, Bridgette, and Sabina) I could ever ask for. I have had the best coordinator, Brian, who believes in my capabilities and pushes me to do more. This road has just begun. My vision is now broader and brighter and it surely won’t end here.
Yay! I think I’m done but I didn’t introduce myself earlier. Should I be like an anonymous writer? I don’t think so. Well, I’m Christine Mukami, nice to meet you. Thank you for reading this. By the way, I know you’ll do pretty well at PACE in case you decide to join.