We spent the first week in orientation and trying some different things out. That weekend we went into Beijing for church on Sunday and had some yummy Western food. The second week we started with an adventure by public transport into the city to see some cool sights. The rest of the week we (summer staff) settled into our roles and learned from our different supervisers about what we would be doing. My role is to assist the volunteer and education manager for the foster home. So I spend a mixture of time in the foster home and in the office, where I have my own desk and computer! My role is most busy at the start of the volunteer times so in the morning and afternoon making sure volunteers know where they should be and helping them get settled into the areas they are assigned. Volunteers can be in either the baby room, toddler play room, pre school or backyard school for older children (6+).
* Getting to know the other summer staff and make good friends with them. We all get on so well which is such a blessing. This experience would not be half as good without getting on with them as we all spend so much time together.
* Being with the Chinese staff in the foster home and learning from them is so great. At this organisation they really have invested in the Chinese staff and have them running pretty much the whole thing (the way it should be!!) so I am really loving getting to know them better and helping however I can.
* Getting to know the kids better and knowing which kids like certain things. Especially the kids who do not like strangers, its so awesome when they run up to me!
*Learning more about myself, hearing from God about the areas in my life where I need to work on changing. The culture here at the organisation I'm working at is so focused on prayer for the kids and seeing miracles happen. There is also a dream culture where we are encouraged to write down our dreams for the future. This has been an awesome exercise to really sit down and think through what I want in the future and pray about that.
*The variety of things we get to do! From helping take the kids on outings, to holding babies, to helping in preschool, to teaching the nannies or teachers some English, to playing with the kids in the backyard, to helping work on the kids developmental goal sheets to taking photos. And that's just the foster home stuff! We've been into Beijing LOTS, seen the Great Wall, tienenman square, forbidden city, art district, houhai lake, temple of heaven, old and new summer places, pearl market and wangfujing street..... I love beeing near Beijing!!
* Sometimes it gets stressful dealing with the big groups and coordinating where everyone goes! Not all groups are that easy to work with which makes the job tough!
*Work days are long, I normally work from 8-5:30 and every second Saturday. And on our off days we normally go into Beijing either for church or for sightseeing (by choice!) so it is hard to find time to unwind!
*The heat!! This Irish guy isn't used to high 30's Celcius!
Thank you so much for all of your support!!! This is an incredible experience and opportunity!! I am so blessed! This coming week will be full of lots of goodbyes as the session 1 summer staff leave and the new summer staff arrive. Only 5 of us are staying and 6 leaving. :(