Local teen aids Tanzanian orphans

Eighteen-year-old learns a lot from those without anything

Alex Doucette at an orphanage in Tanzania.

A Sooke teen is hoping to gather support for an orphanage in Tanzania, after working with the children and resident volunteers for five weeks.

Alex Doucette, 18, worked as a volunteer at Naserian Orphanages and Schools, teaching subjects like art and science to a classroom of about 40 kids.

The school itself had about 100 students, while the orphanage was home to 13 children.

After an hour of class each day, Doucette spent time with the children, aged between three and 18, playing games like tag and reading books in the yard of the nondescript, cinderblock orphanage.

He said it was “rewarding” to see the children express wonderment when introduced to activities and games that are commonplace in Canada.

“When you’d show them something new like hide-and-seek — they had never heard of that — so you showed it to them and their eyes would just light up,” he said.

“They never celebrate their birthdays, so one was Amos, he was turning 18. He had never gotten a present for his birthday or celebrated, so they’d given him presents and it was like Christmas for them.”

Working with the children, who possess very little, but continue to work hard and remain spirited, left Doucette feeling grateful for the privileges back home.

“You’ll hear people complaining about how they can’t get to work on time… just silly things like that and really, it can’t ever compare to what they’ve been through.”

Although Doucette just returned from Tanzania mid-June, he has his sight’s set on trotting around the globe in a volunteer capacity.

“If I would ever travel to a Third World country again, which I hope I do, I would definitely go back as a volunteer again,” Doucette said. “I want to see the whole world.”

Doucette will speak about the orphanage and his experience in Tanzania at Serious Coffee, 6661 Sooke Rd., from 7 to 8 p.m. on Aug. 30.

He hopes to shine light on how people can help the children and orphanage, which is currently in need of items like food, medication and wages for teachers.

To learn more about the the Naserian Orphanages and Schools, check out this blog penned by a volunteer at: http://bit.ly/PM9urP

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