Middle East 2023 Update

During year 2023 I have continued to focus on language and local friends. I had the opportunity to take some classes specifically on the spiritual vocabulary that is not in the traditional classes. These classes taught us specific stories from the bible in the local language. We also discussed ideas of how to answer specific questions in a way that would possibly lead to more questions. These discussions have been helpful when friends have asked me, “Do you believe that Jesus is the Son of God?”

This year I transitioned from volunteering at the local community center to volunteering at a Special Education School. The school has classes for children with Autism, Down syndrome, and other special needs. They also have workshops for adults with disabilities to learn vocational skills.

That first day I volunteered, I was put into the class of 3- to 4-year-olds with autism. The children were all sitting at tables and were given a toy to play with. Later, I was given a puzzle to do with one of the children. “Try to get him to put in the puzzle pieces,” the teacher instructed me. The child wasn’t interested in doing the puzzle, he was interested in eating the pieces, or throwing them on the floor. In the end, we weren’t very successful in completing the puzzle. From that first day, I found it interesting that the classrooms only had two or three boxes of toys. Otherwise, it was simply chairs and tables in the room. I don’t know if it is the choice of the teacher, lack of funding, or simply a different teaching style. I am very interested to continue in this volunteering opportunity and learn more about Special Education in this country and getting to know the teachers, children and the parents. 

This summer I will finish my last year of full-time (15 hours a week) language school. I will be transitioning to working with our team’s business. Its goal is to give people of all ages and skills a professional place to participate in recreational activities. We use these activities as a way of building relationships with the locals. Before I joined them, they had organized basketball and futsal tournaments for men and women (separately). After this summer, we are planning to do kids day camps, different tournaments, and possibly Zumba classes. In the future, we would like to do a day camp specifically for kids with special needs.

To finish off the final two months of this school year, I need $1,800. This coming year as I participate in the business, I also plan to continue in language 6-7 hours a week. To cover language costs, I will needing to raise $400/month.