By Brithonie Brown | IG: @brithli_
“Each day of our lives we make deposits in the memory banks of our children.”
The Olga Mendez Basic School was in for a treat! A thousand thoughts flooded my mind. It was my first Shashamane school visit, and my anxiety was undeniable. Upon arrival, I inhaled a breath of charity, warmth, and belonging that emanated from the volunteers and children alike. It was not long until I concluded that the hiccups I encountered in my attempt to locate the school were all worthwhile. Today was one of giving, and the Shashamane and IGNITE teams were ready to engage the Olga Mendez Basic School.
After scolding myself for my tardiness, I was ready engage fully and take on any task assigned to me. I had arrived just in time to distribute ice cream and cake to the children, who waited patiently. In an effort to increase the excitement, we rallied the children to take part in a concert that would show off their talents. The children danced tirelessly—especially two boys in particular, one of whom appeared to be shy at first. I must admit, he not only made my day, but he also made my first Shash school visit a prosperous one. Just before he attempted to dance, he sat steadily, gazing at me, and I saw in his eyes the nephew I had always wanted. He was sitting silently on a chair next to mine, and before I could finishing asking him if he wanted to dance, he nodded enthusiastically. Sometimes, all we need is a little encouragement. At that moment, he reminded me of myself.
The day passed quickly—the team and I ready to distribute tokens to the children. But just as we were about to do so, one of the teachers read a letter of thanks, reminding us that our effort, time and dedication had not gone unnoticed. I felt so glad, and I was already anticipating my next school visit as a Shash Volunteer.
As our departure approached, Dr. Zazou—the founder of Shashamane Surnise—took photographs with the children alongside the volunteers. We captured photos of every face, except that of the little boy who gazed up at me again, perhaps to see if I was leaving. He suddenly walked over, and hesitated a moment before wrapping the full length of his tiny arms around my legs to say “goodbye.” He did not speak much. His face is etched into my mind. Whenever I remember him, my heart melts from all the warmth he had transferred to me in so little time.
“Charity is not just about making a donation; it is about making a difference.”
Shashamane Sunrise continues to help children from different backgrounds, and I am exceedingly grateful to be a part of such movement. The organization is not only committed to successful school visits but also to encouraging instilling the values of teamwork, team building, and networking.
Brithonie Brown is a second-year student at University of the West Indies in the Marketing and Communications program.