|Getting ready to wrap a giant pass-the-parcel|
It was a much smaller affair than 2010’s, with no presents for the kids and only 12 volunteers. Despite the smaller scale I think it actually went better. It was really, really good fun. We had prepared good simple games, the kids were in a good mood and we were able to keep everyone’s energy up and positive throughout the event. I was quite nervous about the challenge of entertaining kids ranging from seven to seventeen, but I always underestimate how wonderful “big kids” are around little kids in Japan. Far from being bored or sarcastic about our games, the teenagers helped the little kids, making sure everyone was playing fair and having fun. The big kids made sure the little kids had the parcel when the music stopped during pass the parcel and helped them unwrap the paper. They cheered for the little kids while we played limbo (in Santa hats under tinsel, it was a Christmas party!). They let the little kids hide behind them when we played red light, green light. When one little boy got hurt he was instantly surrounded and comforted by three teenaged “big
brothers”. All forty kids ran out into the car park to see us off when we left. I can’t think of anything I would rather be doing at Christmas than giving these amazing kids something to smile about.
If you live in Japan and you are interested in volunteer activities with orphans, please check out the not-for-profit organisation SmileKids. They even have template letters you can download in
Japanese to send to orphanages.