Occupational Therapist Felicia Kessler
Volunteer Felicia reflects on her time at NPH Bolivia.
February 25, 2016 - Bolivia
A personal interview with our friendly and bubbly occupational therapist, Felicia Kessler.
1. How you first find out about NPH?
I was a nanny for several families, and the parents of one of them had a friend who was working for NPH in the DR. So I started writing her and that’s how I found out.
2. What was your job here?
I am an occupational therapist, and I had to build up the program here. I had to explain to the children what my work is and I spoke with the caregivers to get to know who needs help. I planned and had to buy many items for work. In April I began having therapy with the children. Most children have concentration problems in school or are behind developmentally. Occupational therapy’s main goal is to support people in order to become the most independent in the daily life as possible. It deals with their development. When you are behind developmentally, you have problems in school and in the house, and so I looked for ways for the children to develop. For the children, occupational therapy is fun because they play games and they don’t even realize that they are practicing.
3. What are your favorite memories of your job?
It was with Mauricio* from San Martin. I went to the houses to get the boys, and one day I asked him to open the door. He said, “Bienvenidos a mi dulce hogar” (welcome to my sweet home). It was so cute. Also it has been amazing to see the changes in the children and watch them improve developmentally. It was nice to have the freedom to work however I wanted with the children, but it was also challenging because I had no one to support me when work got tough.
4. Do you have any special moments or experiences with the children?
In the beginning I spent most of my time playing with the boys from San Martin and Discipulos. Also in the moments when I brought the boys from Discipulos to bed, and gave them good-night hugs and kisses. Eventually they demanded their good-night hugs and kisses. They are so cute and loving.
5. Did you have any struggles with the children?
Of course there are struggles, especially when you are working in therapy. There are moments when you’re struggling. With one boy I had to end therapy sessions because he was not taking well to it, but most children come around. With the older children I also had difficulties because of my Spanish; I arrived here without speaking any Spanish.
6. What is your favorite part of your day as a volunteer?
My favorite time of day is after work when I have free time and can go and play with the children. I can just play and have fun with them. In therapy I have to be strict and organized. For them therapy is fun, but afterwards I can also be a kid with them.
7. Anything else?
It was an awesome year; it was a great experience. I had moments when I just wanted to leave and go home, but I think that’s normal. We leave our loved ones and our native culture back home, and sometimes that’s not easy. But all in all, it’s incredible. To have seen the differences in the last year – all the children have grown up and have changed. It’s wonderful to see them grow and become little adults.