Kina Abe at Hoop

Volunteer diaries: First Impressions of HOOP

In this week’s blog new volunteer Kina Abe from the United States gives us her first impressions of teaching at the HOOP school.

It’s 6:30 pm and I’m squeezed in the back seat of an over packed Combi bus in between fellow volunteer Irene and an older woman falling asleep while cradling a tiny baby. The baby’s head rests on my left arm and I can just barely see his shiny lips coated with drool. There is a younger woman balancing in the aisle, playing ‘Love Me Like You Do’ by Ellie Goulding on her cell phone speakers. We were going home from what was just another day of teaching English at HOOP but at that very moment, the sun was setting so beautifully, painting a vibrant orange color for the backdrop of the passing city,that not a single person on the bus was speaking. Maybe everyone was silent because they were tired from the day but I’ll stick with the more appealing belief that we were just in awe of the beauty.

I had one of those mornings that day, you know, just a bad one for no reason. I don’t know what catalyzed it, probably dehydration because I’m still a child who doesn’t know when to drink water, but the mood followed me all the way up to the school and I couldn’t shake it off. The kids started coming in and began their usual running around at 3:15. All was normal until I spotted a group of about 10 kids in the corner, huddled around in a circle, clearly hiding something. Cue adult intervention. “Boys, girls, what are you doing?” I ask. And then one of the smaller boys turns his adorable chubby face around and right in the middle of his forehead is this little purple bedazzle jewel. I laughed out loud in his face (I promise you, he laughed too). Then I see the rest of them and they all have a single jewel in the middle of their foreheads as if that is the most normal place to bedazzle. I laughed, they laughed. Man, kids are weird but brilliant.

After that, it wasn’t possible to be in a bad mood. My class was also extra well behaved that day, the stars have aligned! We did this activity where I gave each of them half of a drawing and they had to find the other half and color together. Sounds so simple right? But they actually loved it! Every day I’ve gone to HOOP so far, I am surprised by either the kids or myself. I don’t think my friends and family at home would recognize me while I’m in my teacher mode. In fact, I have said before that teaching is the last thing I would ever do in my life and that kids are not my thing. But look at me now! There is no way you can leave the school without at least a little grin deep down inside. It always gets you and its always worth it.

Kina with her Butterfly class!

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One thought on “Volunteer diaries: First Impressions of HOOP

  1. That was amazing, I will remember my first experience spend time with charity school kids in summer vacations in sport event as a volunteer tech indoor mind develop and fun games for tournament having the same emotions like you do.

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