Saturday I woke up early to make it out to Oryu-dong to volunteer with orphans at an orphanage in that neck of the woods. I’m  definitely trying to keep up my work with kids who have lost a parent or sibling and though I know that I won’t be working in the same capacity (I will be teaching English and playing, not facilitating groups or counseling) it still feels good to volunteer.

   The trip started out a little rough since I was fifteen minutes late due to getting a little lost on the subway and catching the wrong connector. Luckily enough as I went out the exit I saw a group of twelve people around my age that stood out as probably being the group I was meeting with. I found out about this opportunity through Bean Social Network’s Seoul chapter and their facebook page which I’m a member of. Bean is kind of like a Facebook but for people interested in non-profit and volunteering opportunities.

   After a few introductions we made our way to the orphanage and met with the kids. There were 13 of us total and probably about 30ish kids so it definitely wasn’t an overload. The children were divided into age groups and the divvied amongst the volunteers. We had coloring and crossword handouts and worked with the kids.

   The English level was very hard for me to gauge since many of the children were so shy but it was a lot of fun hanging out and seeing them slowly become more confident and go from single word responses to all of a sudden busting out a sentence or two. I definitely didn’t feel like I was getting as much quality teaching done as I do at my school but focused more on the fact that for kids who didn’t have a lot of opportunities any exposure to English was probably great.

Getting first sand in the shoe of the summer!

  After an hour of teaching we headed out to the yard and played with the children. I would play soccer with some of the older kids and simple games like paper, scissors, rock or spin the kid till they went airborne game. It was a great time and I felt awesome during and afterwards. It’s always great doing something like this and I am adamant that it is not a selfless act, you feel really positive and have a great natural high for some time after you have stopped.

   Great heart medicine. Also it’s an outstanding way to meet some like-minded individuals. We had a handful of  Koreans, both from within the country and American born, as well as foreigners from Texas, India and other spots. I was surprised to learn one of the volunteers was from Tacoma which is right next to my hometown South of Seattle (it’s a really big small-world sometimes…), and where I had done some of my initial volunteering back in high school.