Praying together passionately
Volunteers who stay at the yayasan do so much more than just volunteering work. It doesn’t matter if it's teaching English, teaching a class Italian opera singing, or a workshop grilling authentic hamburgers: all volunteers give their time and attention. Because for orphans being played with, the youngest of whom are four, is something that they are entitled to, just like any other child anywhere. In the summer of 2019 a group of five Dutch high school students spent three weeks teaching field hockey at different orphanages in Jakarta. During these weeks they stayed at the yayasan. Below a few accounts of their experiences.
‘We arrived at the orphanage Pa van der Steur in July 2019. We were received with a very warm welcome by all the sweet children. All the kids sang us a welcome song and gave us hugs. They were very interested in us and asked a lot of questions. We soon became friends. It is really special how quickly you grow attached to these children. In these three weeks I’ve really enjoyed the company of the kids, the kind staff, and of course Nel. She was always so hospitable and told us impressive stories that sometimes made you feel a lump in your throat. It was so much fun to spend hours playing with the kids. It didn't matter what we did, playing sports or just running and chasing them. They loved everything. We gave the kids three field hockey training sessions with coach Arno. It was a lot of fun to see how enthusiastic and motivated the kids were. Every night before the children went to sleep they first prayed and sang. That was so beautiful and impressive it would bring a tear to your eye. Afterwards the kids came up to us to hug us and tell us “sleep tight”, so cute. Right before we left the orphanage we organised a Dutch game night. It was a great success, all the kids joined in enthusiastically. The day after we also organised a Pa van der Steur Got Talent which was also amazing. The children really had a lot of talent and it was so much fun to see them perform. As a prize we brought some toys. It was a lot of fun to see how the kids were so excited and started playing with the toys right away. At the end of the night they also had a surprise for us. They gave us t-shirts with their drawings, too cute. Leaving was quite hard. We will never forget the kids, the staff and of course Nel. It was an unforgettable experience.’
‘At the orphanage Pa van der Steur there is an enormous diversity of kids from different islands in Indonesia. Tante Nel herself came to the orphanage in a wonderful way and knows exactly how to calmly respond to every situation for every child. In the three weeks I was there I really noticed how some Dutch values have been passed on because of the presence of tante Nel. Even though it can be a hectic job, tante Nel knows how to take care of everything while still being very flexible. We have a lot of respect for tante Nel. She is an amazing woman with her heart in the right place who will do anything for you.
We stayed at the orphanage for three weeks and had a wonderful time. From playing a lot of sports and getting to know the children in the first few days to becoming real friends with them and seeing all their different characters at the orphanage. Each and everyone of the kids are great persons and all contribute to the incredible orphanage Pa van der Steur. It’s a big complex where the kids can run around so they can play sports and easily fill up their free time. Not to mention Pa van der Steur is a great orphanage where the kids in my opinion are getting an above average education compared to other orphanages and are being properly prepared for the rest of their lives. On top of that the kids will give you the most welcoming and warm feeling that you will rarely or never get anywhere else.’
Emmanuel van der Pol
‘I really loved staying at this orphanage. Already at the start we were welcomed in such a heart warming way with an amazingly beautiful song. The kids were so sweet, fun, and sociable and I really love all of them. I would’ve loved to stay longer so I could hug and play with the kids even more. After the first day they were already my buddies and I could really laugh a lot with them. They will always have a big place in my heart. The field hockey sessions at Pa van der Steur were awesome to teach and I also really loved the talent show. The kids were also so talented! Another thing that will stay with me forever is that we made some pancakes with the kids and afterwards took a guitar and sang “Someone Like You” by Adele, really loudly in the kitchen. Nel also took great care of us, she is one of the kindest and most special women I have ever met. I really admire how well she does everything. She also tells stories about the kids and herself in such an impressive way that it brings tears to my eyes. When the children sang songs and prayed every night I was often there as well. Usually one of the children would sit in my lap and I would get a lump in my throat thinking about how beautiful and special I thought it all was. Saying goodbye was very hard. I am going to miss everyone here so much and my stay at the orphanage Pa van der Steur was one of the most amazing experiences I have ever had.’