We had our first volunteer activity on Saturday and it was perfect. One of the students organized a trip to Daegu where disabled people play at sport that is a bit like Bocce ball.
We were greeted by a man in a wheelchair. His arms, and legs were contorted. His face was contorted when he spoke and was really difficult to understand. You could see how stressed all the kids looked. As he speed off in his wheelchair (that seemed to be rocket powered) one student said to me, "my heart is beating so fast".
Naturally they wanted Sandy and I to play against them and predictably, they beat us. I cannot say that I gave my all, but I am reasonably sure they would have beaten us anyway. Later, they asked my kids to play. As much as I like them, I have to say they were really, really bad at this game.
During the break time one man decided to tell his story of how he ended up in a wheelchair. He was an engineer at an architectural firm. They gave him a motorcycle as a bonus, he wrecked, had 10 operations, was getting better, something went wrong in the hospital and ended up with physical problems, and by his own estimation, limited mental abilities. Quite sad, and perfect for kids to hear.
The participants wanted some group pictures at the end, and by looking at their faces, I think you can see that the kids coming to the event added greatly to their day.
As we were walking out, I asked the kids what they thought. One said she wants to come every month. Another said this was a precious memory, another said at first she was scared of them, but now she had fun and liked them.
I cannot think of anyway that this could have gone better. The kids organized it, they did something good that made somebody else happy, they will likely do it again, and the way they see disabled people has changed. Damn am I proud of them.