I hope you are having a good day so far! I would like to show you how I spend (some of) my Saturdays….
There is a project I have been volunteering in recently, and will continue to do so. It is named ‘Blaka Watra’ and is a homeless day care in Amsterdam. I found the organization when I applied for voluntary work at NL Cares.
Blaka Watra offers homeless men and women a daily place to come in, have a good coffee or tea, eat some sandwiches and a warm meal, take a warm shower, get fresh clothes and relax. They offer places to sit and rest, a pool table, a phone to call relatives, a pingpong table and multiple computers to enjoy themselves.
This ‘Blaka Watra’ house is close to the central station and on Saturdays they always need some extra hands, because on Saturday it’s the only day care open in Amsterdam. I volunteered multiple Saturdays by giving out coffee, tea, sandwiches and meals. But what is mostly needed and appreciated during this voluntary work, is a conversation. Talking about their day, how they feel, asking them questions, letting them talk about their interests.
I must admit, some are very friendly to talk to and easy to level with. Some just are so kind and thankful for the help you offer. Others are somewhat more difficult to have a conversation with due to the language barrier (many are non-dutch speakers), a more closed personality or the fact that they may have been taking drugs or alcohol. But without a doubt these conversation are eye openers, lessons about life and the world we live in. I learned a lot about what keeps them on their feet, what life is like on the streets and how kindness is in full presence between these people. A lot of times people who end up here, didn’t choose to have a life like this. Some of them have bad luck, some of them have hope for a better life, some lost a lot. In the end they all like to change the situation, but it has never been easy. ‘Blaka Watra’ offers them help as well, to hopefully make it.
I would really recommend anyone to help out at a homeless day care, because you will find yourself having such interesting conversations and be touched by the amount of kindness and thankfulness. You will feel satisfied, I can assure you!
Feel free to reach out to NL Cares or to me if you like to join me on a Saturday!