Courage Is Volunteering While On Vacation
| Orly Margulis
It takes two buses and a 10-minute walk to get to Save a Child’s Heart from my brother’s apartment. It might seem like nothing, but when you don’t have data on your phone and barely know the area because you are on vacation, even two blocks seem like Mount Everest. Yet, I decided to spend my afternoon volunteering at this organization instead of doing what I had planned for the day: buy some Heineken beers, put on my swimsuit and tan all day at Banana Beach in Tel Aviv.
The thing is that I only had 12 days to soak up the sun and work on my tan. That also meant that I had 12 days to see my friends, buy pretty (but cheap) jewelry at the local market, and relax. I didn’t want to spend any time doing anything other than what I had intended to do when I planned my trip.
As planned, one of the days, I spent all day trying on clothes with my friend at the mall, and although I had fun, I felt I was not doing anything meaningful. I was doing something so mindless that didn’t impact anyone, not even myself. I got home and started to watch some Hello Fears videos, and came across a video about how in Israel you can spend your whole day at the beach eating watermelon and drinking iced coffee, or you can do something more meaningful (watch video). That is when I decided to call SACH and plan a trip to their house.
Save a Child’s Heart is an organization that brings kids with cardiac problems to Israel to get the necessary treatment for free. These kids often come from developing countries where they can’t get the proper treatment to improve their health. When you visit the house, you spend the day playing with these kids that are far from home, who barely speak the language and who underwent major surgeries.
I was very afraid of taking a bus by myself, especially when my phone had absolutely no data. I had to take screenshots of the map and talk to the bus driver to beg him to let me know which was my stop. I was also afraid of going there by myself, knocking on the door of a place I don’t know and just waiting for the kids to wake up.
But I knew that my fear of going was so diminutive next to the smile I could put on these kids faces. I also knew that I had everything I needed with me to get there safely and that my brother was going to pick me up at the end of the day.
For a second, I contemplated hoping into the other bus, the one that would take me to Tel Aviv, but I faced my fear and stuck to my plan of going to SACH instead.
The kids were SO happy I was there.
It only took them minutes to get used to the strange face who just walked into their house. After that, we became instant friends.
I played dress up, did art and crafts and even danced the Macarena with them. At the end of the day, I realized that the fear and the worries I was feeling were just in my head. I saw the smile on their faces when I was playing with them, and how sad they were when I was leaving. I could see how my time there impacted them, which was definitely more meaningful than spending another day at the beach tanning.
Sure, spending your vacation at the beach can be fun, but getting out of your comfort zone, facing your fears and helping others can actually feel incredible.