Allison Zelkowitz, Save the Children program manager
October 9, 2009, 11:00 PM
Our new field office consists of two bedrooms and a sitting room on the second floor of a large home bordered by rice terraces. This could almost be
The landlady here is about 70 years old and less than five feet tall; she has a wonderful smile. She’s not only housing us, but she’s also taken in 10–15 of her neighbors, who sleep on the floor downstairs. This house has become quite a community center – there are always a dozen or more children playing outside or watching TV. Most of these children are now homeless.
But as soon as I walked away, they immediately dove into the box and started drawing. I think many haven’t seen crayons or toys in a week.
I’ve heard that some are afraid to leave their parents’ side, and I’ve seen kids jump when a helicopter flies overhead or a large truck trundles past. Yet they still have so much capacity for joy.
This afternoon I was sitting under a tent surrounded by eight children – their parents were waiting to claim the hygiene kits and shelter materials Save the Children was distributing. I made some faces at the kids for a while, and tried to get them to sing (they refused). But then I showed them the “separating thumb trick,” which they watched with a mix of awe, glee and terror. When I asked if they wanted to learn how to do it, they ran off screaming and giggling.
Sometimes I love my job.
Learn more about Save the Children's emergency response in the Asia-Pacific region.