Those weeks at Bobbi Bear have been the most memorable and fantastic I have ever experienced in my life. I am so happy and grateful that I was able to volunteer for them. Thinking of Bobbi Bear gives me this feeling which is really hard to explain in words, but I’ll try my best……
I was a Bobbi Bear volunteer from July till September 2015, which was during my university summer holidays. I was studying Criminology at Erasmus University Rotterdam. I now tutor Criminology students at the same university, helping them with research and career progression.
My time with Bobbi Bear was my first experience as an international volunteer. I wanted to do voluntary work for a long time because I felt that it was an important process to gain perspective and give me extra expereince when looking for a job after university.
Every time I Googled different countries and projects, Bobbi Bear kept catching my attention. I was studying Criminology so Bobbi Bear connected to this. Also, I wanted to do something different than building water wells or something like that. From what I read online, Bobbi Bear seemed to me like a very heavy, but amazing project. So that’s why I chose Bobbi Bear.
I can’t really name one or two most impactful moment(s) during my stay, because this whole experience was impactful to me. Every day was different and was full of memorable moments.
I will never forget the hugs we gave each other every day. As a volunteer you are not just one of the many volunteers who come by, you become member of the Bobbi Bear family. And a family it is. When you step into the Bobbi Bear house, there is a quote painted above the door, saying ‘Our home, where family are friends and friends are family’, which I think is really accurate.
I will never forget the powerful women and men, the aunties and uncles, working at Bobbi Bear. I respect them so much! They will do anything for the children (and adults) they work with. They work their asses off. Even though it is really hard, and sometimes even traumatising work, they still keep on going.
I will never forget the children’s smiling faces. At the tree, where they can just play and be a child, without having to worry. Or at the schools, where Bobbi Bear gives presentations. When waiting for our taxi, we were surrounded by a sea of children. Unable to move, because they were all hugging us. Or at the police station, where sexually abused children tell their story to one of the Bobbi Bear members. When it is not yet their turn to go inside, the volunteers have to look after them and play with them to keep them busy. Making them smile, even though it is only for a second. That second was a second where they didn’t have to think about the awful things that happened to them.
Bobbi Bear made me realise how lucky I am: having a childhood without any worries and not having to deal with sexual abuse or poverty. It made me realise that I should to do something good with my life, to make the most out of it. I look up to the people who work at Bobbi Bear and I hope to become a ‘rough auntie’ as well: standing for a good cause and helping others.
I really want to go back to Bobbi Bear sometime soon, maybe next year if possible.
I probably forgot to write down a lot of other memorable things I’ve experienced at Bobbi Bear. But there are so many experiences that I don’t know what to tell. Hopefully this will give you some insight.
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