In all honesty, attempting community service made me hesitant in many aspects; one of my biggest concerns were whether or not I would be able to empathize enough with the ones who I was offering my help. Having a short temper with just about anything is a horrible flaw to still live with and I was worried I would end up slowing the team down because of it. It was upon the arrival to the learning center that my mind was put slightly at ease. The children were so kind and enthusiastic around us and I had a fun time interacting with them. They definitely exceeded my expectations based on their intellect and even etiquette in most cases. The one who caught my attention the most was a ten-year old boy from Myanmar; he went by the name Popo. His curiosity and excitement for everything was so contagious, I couldn’t help smiling around him every time. It was a little hard keeping up with his questions, especially when more than five other students would join in with him, but it was definitely an experience I would remember for a long time.
Interacting with my teammates was also a good experience; I’m super grateful now seeing how we all managed to complete our assignment with little to no quarrels. I was glad seeing them all have a good time with the kids at the school and it encouraged us more to help out as much as possible.
We made four trips to Mana House Learning Center to take our measurements, interviews and for the painting the mural. It was hard seeing kids no older than five years old having limited amounts of furniture while they continued to study. They were all refugees who were forced to flee their homes; it broke my heart when one of the teachers told us about their Syrian students whose parents had to take them out of the school because they couldn’t afford the transportation for their children. I do hope, with all my heart, the children end up living a bright future.
Adjusting time for this project was definitely a challenge for my teammates and I; in the end, it helped us immensely to manage our time as well as considering what mattered most in life. This project helped me realize how even a small amount of help can bring smiles upon people’s faces—it may not be much, it might also not last for long, but it’s a start. I truly wish to use my skills in the future to help those around me. Architecture, truly shouldn’t just be limited to big projects filled with poetics and aesthetics, instead it can be as simple as a modest and efficient structure that is just as equal as any other building(s).