Student Volunteer: Mark Schmelter
School: International School Bangkok (ISB)
Mission: Surin 2014
For ISB’s Global Citizenship Week, we were involved in Operation Smile’s activities that helped kids suffering from birth defects. I learned new methods of communication because when we had to interact with the kids, a lot of them were could not speak English and were shy. We often had to learn how to communicate or interact with these children in order to entertain them. We faced challenges because when we interacted with the kids, witnessing them suffering really brought us all out of our comfort zone. However, by really sharing the experience with everyone else we adapted quickly and realized we had to focus on the kids.
Activities were coordinated by Operation Smile Thailand, however during operating days us students organized ourselves to switch between operating rooms and waiting rooms to make sure the kids always had someone to play with. When we were with the kids we tried to show perseverance and commitment, because often times the kids were unhappy, scared, or in pain. Often times we wouldn't stop until we got a smile on the child's face. The issues of global important include children who are born with lip defects, or any birth defect for that matter. Ethical implications include what is appropriate for us to do in these situations; we must remain respectful to the families and the children. We became more aware of these global issues and the implications of them in our society, as well as developed interaction skills that would help us in future experiences.