Why Volunteer?

A life-changing week – Orsi

Orsi is currently part of our Content Development Team. She joined in 2017, when she also visited Magyarbánhegyes. When she is not with the kids from the Knapsack Camps, she is studying for her finals, bakes, cooks and reads. After leaving school, she would like to become a literature teacher, and she would like to open a cute small restaurant, where everyone will be able to chat with a coffee.                

           

                                            

It was towards the end of 11th grade in high school when I realised that, over the summer, I’d be really keen on doing some volunteering, try something new, meet new people, and, most importantly: I would love to be around kids. One of my best friends, Csilla, and I started looking into options of where to go to and what to do. We found an online ad for Knapsack Camps. We applied, were invited for an interview, and we were really hoping that we’d succeed. I remember getting the e-mail, jumping up and down in my room, screaming, calling Csilla to ask if she’d made it too. This was about a month and a half before the camp, and I was extremely impatient and excited to be at Magyarbánhegyes already. The night before leaving, however, I was lying in bed filled with anxiety, my head full of thoughts about how, surely, the kids will hate me or I’ll end up doing something I shouldn’t have, or that the other volunteers won’t like me. I did not know back then that what was awaiting me was one of the most eventful, busiest and overall best weeks of my life. I was really nervous that first Monday when we got to know the kids. That is, I was nervous for the first hour. But then their friendliness, humour and openness made me relaxed as well. It felt wonderful that only after two hours, I was already being hugged, they braided my hair and they invited me to play. When we went for lunch, the children chose themselves a pair, and I was happy to be asked to be a pair too. Later, in the afternoon, we formed groups of two or three volunteers to five or six children, our task: to build a town or village from recycled packaging. In our team, the kids were very creative, and they became more and more skilled at working together as the days passed. We were the party-group, with continuous music and roaring laughter. We also managed to build a rather pretty town.

The week went by so quickly that I couldn’t even process everything that was happening to me. The other volunteers played a tremendous role in me having such a positive experience. Each evening we discussed the events of the day, which felt great, since it was in these moments that I could stop for a second, think everything through and share my thoughts with others who were living through the same experiences. Even after six months, I think back to that week with a smile on my face. It really was life-changing. Before going, I made a deal with myself: if I feel that the children don’t like or trust me, or I cannot find the right tone with them, then I won’t work in an area involving children as an adult. But the week at Magyarbánhegyes was proof that I was, in fact, born for this. During those days, I was someone completely different to who I was before, and that is all thanks to the children.

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