The ASB team rounds off the week with the penultimate day of working with the kids of AYS. Hawa and Noah share their insights on Thursday, the fifth day of the trip.
“Coming to the facility we had new objectives that we wanted to tackle. One of which was cleaning Shari’s desk and the surrounding area. Shari’s main focus has always been the children that come to the facility and she seems to disregard her needs selflessly. Because of this, her space was clogged and condensed with materials that needed to be sorted. Another issue we wanted to tackle was the lack of sunlight due to high shelves stacked with many boxes. We reorganized these boxes and allocated them to different areas of the room. The children were noticeably impressed with the renovations that we completed before they arrived.
Shari, the Director of AYS, gave us the honor of organizing the arts and crafts project for the day. We decided to do a project that would be very interactive between the kids and the volunteers while utilizing the materials that were already at the center. The project was making a banner consisting of children’s drawings that could be displayed in the room. It was one of the kid’s birthdays and the team wrapped gifts and bought pizza to celebrate.
As the end of the week approaches, the children and the volunteers seem to deal with this idea in different ways. We arrived knowing the experience was going to be limited but the reality of our departure was slowly sinking in. The children were already questioning about our return, which makes the situation more difficult. Despite this, the atmosphere was more relaxed and the kids were no longer apprehensive to approach us. Homework was done right away without much convincing so that we had more time to play and do arts and crafts.
We ended our day going to an MSA event at the University of Illinois – Chicago for a lecture by Sheikh Abdulkarim Yahya and dinner. Afterwards we headed out to walk around the city and get gelato. During our nightly reflection, the conversation redirected from what we were learning from the kids to how we can apply our experience back home in Ann Arbor and our lives. We also talked about how this experience affected our spirituality and how much we have grown in the past couple days.”