The ‘value of small things’

At the beginning of last year, I decided to go travel around SE Asia and to finish my trip with a volunteering experience.

I remember the first day I arrived at CDO, excited and scared. The place seemed empty, with no one but the dogs and chickens wandering around, since all the kids were at school. After a while two little ones came running to me with a smile on their face, inviting me in. We couldn’t quite understand each other but somehow we started to make bracelets together. And as simple as that I thought, ‘well, it feels like home’.

One month later, on my last day, as I took my bike outside, carrying a bunch of drawings offered by the kids, and looking at their little smiley faces between the blue gate, I had the same feeling all over again: it does feel like home.
While volunteering at CDO, I got to do several different things, such as teaching English, geography, even Portuguese, dance classes and some gardening. But mostly I was gratefull and surprised for what I’d learned myself from the experience, the kids and the staff of CDO. Mom, Peter, Julien, Yenny, everyone, I thank you so much for having me and teaching me the value of small things. I wish you all the best for the new school and I’ll keep cheering for you from the other side of the world until we meet again.

– Catarina Almeida,