Posted on 07/14/2011 @ 06:09 PM
Children are our Future
When entering my assigned room at the Beit Ginsberg Community Center in Tiberias, I was overcome with a mixture of anticipation and anxiety. I do not speak Hebrew and I was assigned the oldest group of children. How was I supposed to communicate when I could barely ask their names?
We all struggled through icebreakers while the soldier in charge translated for both groups. Next we split up the group to do some arts and crafts, and my panic set in yet again. In a few minutes I realized how futile my worries were. Children are so open - a smile and a nod to demonstrate your understanding are sufficient responses.
I connected with a nine year old named Lihi, and although she did not speak English and I did not speak Hebrew, we managed to understand one another. A simple one word response on my part would prompt paragraphs from this adorable child. She understood everything I wanted to say, but could not verbalize...and I understood her. The idea that across the world a little girl could understand everything about me and all the thoughts I could not express is simply unbelievable. Yet I witnessed this with my own eyes. It truly was an experience that changed me; it renewed my faith in the abilities of humans to be compassionate and connect with each other. In short, it was MAGICAL.
- Mariah Genis