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Monday, December 15, 2014

Written by Emma Nowotny

Written by Emma Nowotny

We are getting to the end of this eventful journey, full of memories and experiences that will leave us marked for life; some good, other not so good, but overall each and every single one of them full of emotions. Our visits to the medical clinic were many, with reasons ranging from the typical stomach disease volunteers get when they get here, to stitches in hands and heads, and many other types of infections. We had dinners and breakfasts together; we sat round to enjoy pleasant moments in our free time, such as sun bathing and catching up. And I personally think that when it comes to it, these are the spaces that have made it possible for us to become a team. Being able to share stories and spend time together outside of our daily work has motivated us to become a team that trusts and supports each other.

This team has been very proactive. They have been full of initiative and despite the high and lows we had, they have always been responsible for their jobs and willing to do more, despite the stress they felt. They have allways been keen to learn more and get feedback about their work, making them a  well balanced team.

Amy, Lyndsey, Florencia, Anthony y Martha

As it was mentioned before, the work at the children’s hospital has been stronger this cohort. We have been looking  to improve the quality of our visits in the hospital and even get the parents involved. Aware of the emotional burden that the parents of these children carry, we managed to coordinate a space where we could provide workshops of emotional support and nutrition. My team was in charge of the emotional support workshops and I must say that they have exceeded all expectations. They spent days doing research about the theme and ultimately provded three high-quality workshops.

Our first workshop took place on Thursday 27th November, and attracted 6 participants, two aunts, two fathers, a grandfather and a mother. Having tried to create a safe and trustworthy environment, in which the theme for the workshops was adequate, we ended up staying longer than we were supposed to, listening to strong stories that needed to be told. In the midst of tears and many doubts, we provided an important outlet for them to heard. We are able to say today that our workshop was a siuccess, but at the same time we know that this has only been a first step of something that is completely necessary in this context.

Our second workshop (we only had two due to the entry problems that you may have red with Lyndsey’s blog (Hyperlink?), ), focused on relaxation techniques and coping mechanisms (of what?).. When we arrived to the hospital on the day of the workshop, we met with family members that were quite different from those of the week before, who chose not to be a part of the activity with the exception of one mother. Ass a result, the quality of the workshop was much improved..

Emotions and concerns of the family workshop containment

After this experience there are many things I can reflect upon and it´s hard for me to choose one highlight, but if I don´t do it I´ll have you sitting here reading this for longer than expected. With respect to the workshops, I was somewhat sceptical about the idea of getting people to be enthused about them. I felt that, because of our culture, being able to assist the families was a bit unrealistic. After the first workshop,  I hit myself for thinking this. Simple things such as taking food to the workshops is very important, as the parents don´t even give themselves the time to eat something during the day. We also thought that if we made them draw about the things they are going through, it would potentially be easier than making them talk about it freely. What actually happened is that most of the parents didn´t even use the papers they were given and actually spoke a lot more than what we expected, a really encouraging sign.


 With regards to the team, I feel happy to see that my volunteers valued their own work alongside the participants of the workshops. In my opinion, the three young girls of International Service that have initiated these workshops have ventured into a new field, and II believe that we are a living prove that when there is a strong desire to work and powerful reasons for what we are doing, everything is possible.

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