I know I have mentioned a lot about the kiddos and their families I’ve encountered. However, I also want to be sure to share these things as well:
The Shelter: the cots and the small area surrounding them became their home
I remember when I was playing with one kiddo he asked me if I wanted to see his home. I replied, “sure”, thinking he would begin to tell me about his home or show me a photo. But instead he grabbed my hand and said “okay let’s go”. He proceeded to take me to a small area in the shelter where him and his family slept. This was an eye-opening encounter.
The bags, boxes, and containers families had by their cots may very well be all they have left!
The superintendent of the schools came to the shelter every morning with a list of the kids going to each school. He stayed and ensured every kid got on the right bus and got to school.
The constant influx of additional volunteers, the kindness and generosity everyone showed to each other, the amount of people that dropped everything and came to respond to the disaster…
Well, the journey has come to an end for me. It feels odd leaving when the disaster relief work is incomplete. In the child life world, I imagine this feeling would be similar to what I would feel if I left in the middle of a procedure. Side note: I have never done that. I keep reminding myself that the amazing CDS team is still there providing support and opportunities for play. Although I may feel I am leaving things unfinished, I think back to the interactions I had with the kids and families, the stories shared, the raw emotions expressed and the impact we had on each other. The relief and break that was given to parents and family members. The opportunity provided for kids to be kids and to work and communicate through play. The infectious smile one received when observing the child care center. The amount of kids wanting to come to the center significantly increasing as word spread. The numerous thanks and appreciation received.
And as I remember all these things I can’t help but notice a smile spread across my face.