October Volunteering

Recently, Markus and I had the opportunity to volunteer at a women's shelter. Sadly, domestic violence is quite prevalent in Korea. I've heard many stories of men beating their wives or girlfriends in plain sight of other people. I think people tend to turn a blind eye when it comes to things like this. The shelter that we volunteered at is like a half way house for women and their children trying to escape abuse and get back on their feet.

Our experience with these kids was absolutely life changing. These kids were amazing and unlike any of the kids I'm usually around. My library students are very goofy and sweet, but they always keep a physical distance. They never really hug, only a few kids. These kids were so loving. They didn't even know my name and as soon as they saw me they were running and hugging me. I couldn't help but squeeze them even tighter. 

We started the afternoon watching them attack the food we brought. It was a nice way to break the ice, considering that Markus and I were new. After lunch, we went to a park where we ran around and played with the kids. They were so funny and a lot of fun. There were two boys who kept calling each other bathroom and Andromeda. It was hilarious. We also met some great people, the other volunteers are really wonderful people with huge hearts and I was thankful to have met them.
Later in the afternoon, Kasim and Markus started face painting and it was game over after that. All the kids crowded around them and started asking to be painted. We didn't even need to search around for them, because they were all patiently waiting.

The boys became obsessed with the dragons and monsters that Markus was drawing. They all asked for some kind of mythical being. Soon the girls started asking too!

One of the funniest boys there, had his nails painted pink with yellow polka dots and then asked Markus to draw devils on his hand. I guess he had to keep it manly somewhere.

I felt like the few hours we spent with these kids was more of a blessing to me than them. It breaks my heart to think of what they have to go through at such a young age. The least I could do is sacrifice a few hours having fun with them. It's easy to get tired of being around kids especially when you teach them everyday. Instead, these kids gave me energy. It was such a blessing to have the opportunity to volunteer with them. After we left, I remember telling Markus, "Spending time with them made me fall in love with Korea all over again."