This week my 11 year old host sister completely surprised me; she gave me a glimpse into this country’s future and it was a good one to see. For a while she had been asking me if she could help work with the invalid population that we have in the village. I told her yes and we would talk to my boss about it. I had put off that meeting for a while because I kept forgetting and other things kept creeping up. However, once I returned from the capital she asked me again and I saw the longing in her eyes. I committed myself to set her up with a meeting with my boss to talk about how she could help. This week we had that meeting and she amazed me. My boss can be a hard person to talk to at times, she can be direct, abrasive and sometimes, especially for children, scary. But, Nurlia was wonderful. She explained how she had this idea to help with this population and why it was important for her to do this. She stated she knew it’s important to volunteer and that’s what she’s wanting to do (this all from an 11 year old and in a country where volunteerism hardly exists)! So together they made an action plan. My boss told her to acquire 5 more students and they would provide the means. Then together we would all work with these children 2 times a week .
My host sister was excited and together over the course of two days we talked with students around her age and compiled a list of names. We then established a meeting time to prepare a work plan with the VHC people. Unfortunately the students were not able to attend the meeting, which is a common problem here, but my host sister took it well and still agreed to create a work plan with my director. Together they talked, agreed and created a plan that those 6 students will use for the future. I was impressed and helped her as much as she wanted, but it was all her.
In a country where the family is the primary focus, volunteering to help others is not given much thought. Outside commitments are often not kept but my host sister has shown me how that can change. She took it upon herself to call and check on the other students. She came up with the list of students and she explained to all of them, and their parents, what this project is about. It is her vision and idea. For an 11 year old it’s impressive, and for me, a really great sign of what is in store for her future, and perhaps for her country’s. Just realize that while she’s doing this she also must deal with her chores and duties from home, as all of these kids must do. During summer especially they have much additional work laid on them and Nurila, as well as the other 5 students, are willing to deal with that. I think it’s a mark of their maturity and willingness to do something for others. I really hope for Nurila’s sake it all works out. There will be problems and struggles, we’ve already had some, but I think she’ll persevere. It’s a good indication of what’s to come.