Since then, I have continued my work with the refugees. I have helped out in the pre-school, an elementary school reading program in the summer, and in an after-school homework/tutoring program. I have come to work with most of the kids here, and I love each and every one of them. I enjoy and appreciate every second I spend with them. Aside from mentoring them, I have learned so much about them, their past lives, and their culture. In working with them, I have made countless friends. In doing so, the barriers that inevitably exist where they view me as their “tutor” and I view them as “the kids I’m working with” have been broken. In its place stands a mutual friendship that will last longer than I ever thought possible.
I have been working with the Burundians for the past eleven months now. Even though I have been helping them, they have been helping and teaching me, as well. In mentoring them, I have learned countless lessons. I have come to see that no act of kindness, however small, goes unappreciated. The kids will love you no matter what, and they genuinely appreciate everything you do for them. Whether you are helping someone with their math homework or playing soccer with a group of kids, the kids will appreciate it. I have also seen firsthand just how far the small things go.
I cannot imagine where I would be without my new friends. I feel I have grown as a person through my work with them. What began for me as a small opportunity has become something much more than that. I cannot describe how it became such a big part of me, but one thing is for sure- deciding to go help out with the kids on that early June morning was the best decision of my life.