Suddenly she said my name

Shalom,

My name is Annelijn Esther. I have worked at Aleh for almost 6 months and I would like to tell you about my experiences with ALEH. My experience at ALEH has been very very good. Working with the residents en living together with the other volunteers taught me so much. I learnt to be more open, more confident, more grateful, more active and many other things. I also learnt better to deal with other cultures and religions. And I gained a second family now, I feel like a part of the ALEH family. But I don’t only want to talk about what I have learned, I also would like to tell a story about my very special residents.

“they taught me a lot of good things and they will always have a special place in my heart”

In ALEH I worked in one of the houses, an all female house. Most residents in my house are quite active, most of them can walk or talk, or both. When I came to Israel I didn’t really speak Hebrew, so when one of the residents started telling me a story I didn’t know at all what she was saying. But gradually I started understanding Hebrew more and more and at one point I was able to talk with them with very simple words. So one time one of the residents was telling me a story again and suddenly she said my name. There are more people in my house with the same name so I wanted to check if she really knew that my name is Esther. So I asked what my name is and she answered with my name. She really knew who I am and I felt like I really had become a part of the family of my house. After that I asked more residents what my name is and they really started calling me by my name. That’s a wonderful feeling. But then I had to say goodbye. I learnt to say some sentences to them so they would know that I was leaving again. Although it was very sad to say goodbye, it was also very special to see the reactions of the residents when you tell them those sentences. You realise that they know what you are saying although they might not be able to talk, they know. Every resident reacted differently to me. Some asked me why I had to leave and said toda (thank you) to me and others just gave me a hug or stared at me.

I feel like the residents can keep surprising you with their potentials and with their abilities. They truly are very special and unique, like every other person. And although they first might seem like not, they are very smart and they can teach you a lot. At least I know that they taught me a lot of good things and they will always have a special place in my heart.

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