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An update from the Mission House!

thumbnail An update from the Mission House!

Hello everyone,

It’s Gemma! This week I’ll be updating you about life in the Mission House… biggrin

On Monday we visited the Noorderkerk (North Church) which is a really beautiful church that opens its doors to locals and tourists so they can talk to each other and have something to drink. If we decided to volunteer there our role would be to welcome guests, serve drinks, speak to people and then clean the Church. It’s a great project and we all enjoyed the visit!

On Tuesday, it was Erwin’s birthday so we decorated the living room for him and gave him some rather strange, but nice, presents to open. He received a jumper, shirt and tie as well as a doll of Harry Styles from One Direction which we thought looked like him wink

Erwin's Birthday

In the afternoon we all went to the theatre in Amsterdam’s library to watch a show which had been produced specifically for people who are learning Dutch. Even though we struggled to understand it we all had a lot of fun! After the theatre we visited another project, Not For Sale. This organisation gives prostitutes and survivors of human trafficking the opportunity to gain life skills (such as cooking and using a computer) as well as offering them a safe environment in which they feel valued. Many of us in the house are interested in this project :P

On Wednesday, Akos and Julius had the opportunity to take part in the Blikveld project which allows teenagers to participate in social projects throughout Amsterdam. The boys took a group of teenage girls to a home for elderly people where they spent time talking and playing games. Meanwhile, the girls went to visit a project called Replay. This is a walk in centre for children aged 0-4 years which provides a safe and fun environment for local parents to play with their children. After that we visited Eetlokaal LT which is a cafe operated by young deaf people. This project is really nice because it allows the deaf people, who have often had difficult lives, to enhance their work skills as well as to socialise with others.

Eetlokaal LT

On Thursday, the day started with a visit to De Regenboog Groep (The Rainbow Group). This organisation helps many drug users and homeless people by providing several drop in centres across the city where visitors can eat, drink, shower, change their clothes and socialise. In some of the centres there are also opportunities for the visitors to make candles which are then sold in a shop or to fix bikes. This project is great because it gives the drug users and homeless people value; it makes their days meaningful which is really important!

After the visit we had a very long Dutch lesson. While some of us are finding Dutch fairly easy to learn, the majority of us are struggling quite a bit eek However, we always have a lot of fun in class and, fortunately, our Dutch teacher, Lishe, is really kind and patient! Dutch classes continued on Friday and Saturday but we got to go outside and practice what we had learnt in class. We went to the market where we listened to Lishe buying food then we met her family and practiced our Dutch with them which was really funny. After that we went to the park and finished the lesson in the beautiful sunshine. The weather has been really warm the past few days but we expect it to get much colder soon! This is the beautiful view from my bedroom window on a very sunny afternoon in Amsterdam… cool

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As you can tell, we had a fairly busy week but we are all enjoying visiting the many different projects and learning about all the good work which people do for others. It can sometimes be difficult to visit the projects because they expose us to people in challenging situations but at the same time it’s so nice to see that these people aren’t ignored and the projects empower them and become an important part of their lives. I’m looking forward to starting the voluntary work because although it will be a challenge it will also be really rewarding.

Time is going by so fast here in the house so we’re trying to make the most of every moment. We have become like one very big family and it’s a good feeling to live with 8 other people who spend time with you and support you. I think I speak on behalf of all the volunteers at the Mission House when I say that we are all so grateful to be here and allowed to help others while having a lot of fun along the way too.

Best wishes,
Gemma