‘We Don’t Need Fancy Shoes or Phones…’ — Jessica Ayob Reflects on Serve to Learn

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Dear Friends,

A few weeks ago, 25 Serve to Learn volunteers from five different countries came together in Egypt for three weeks to serve, teach, and play with the world’s greatest kids! A lot of things happened during those three weeks… including an epic water fight in a village called El Barsha… but I’d rather let Jessica Ayob — one of the volunteers — tell you what happened that day and what she ended up learning.

— Nermien

Who’s in this photo?

Volunteers from Serve to Learn, some people from the Coptic Orphans office, and a bunch of my kids.

Where was it taken?

This was taken right in front of our classrooms.

What’s happening in the photo?

We had just finished a massive water fight. The kids had no mercy on us and we were completely drenched, water bottles, hoses, and buckets all came out! Kids were running around everywhere pouring tons of water on each other. Never had I seen such a chaotic scene of all the kids smiling and laughing so hard because water was poured on them. After we finally got them to stop, we went upstairs because there was no possible way “Teta” Mina (the local coordinator) was going to let us walk back home drenched. The kids followed and as the picture was taken we all yelled out “Jamoooosaaa” (cow). I think they make fun of me because of how I pronounce it, but whatever makes them happy :)

How did you feel when it was taken?

For some reason, I felt so proud of them. No matter what happens to them or what they’re going through, God’s light shines so brightly through them.

Why do you want to remember this moment?

I need to remember this picture because I have to remind myself of the simple little things that make the world go round.

If you could help people understand one thing with this photo, what would it be?

We don’t need fancy shoes or phones. We just need a couple of crazy kids yelling out “cow” to be happy.

Interested in learning more about Serve to Learn? Check out our page and our new video, which gives a snapshot of the program! 

If this “a picture is worth a 1,000 words” blog makes you want to read other Serve to Learn stories, here are Pheobe Azer‘s and Ryan Wasson‘s. If that’s not enough, you can read Serve to Learn  interviews with ToniJohnGabyMinaAndyVeronikaDavidBen, Kirollos, MariamAlex, and Mirelle. You may also enjoy these video interviews with Nadine RoffaellPeter Wassef and Mary Loka.  Any questions you’d like to ask a real human being? Call or email Mira Fouad, who runs Serve to Learn, at 703-641-8910 or at mfouad@copticorphans.org

About Nermien Riad

Nermien Riad founded Coptic Orphans in 1988 after volunteering for an orphanage in Cairo. When she saw that most of the children had living widowed mothers who simply couldn’t afford to feed them, she gathered family and friends to sponsor children in Egypt. Today Coptic Orphans works through a network of 400+ church-based volunteers in Egypt, who visit fatherless families in their homes and make sure they get everything they need to unlock their full potential. That way, they don’t have to get married off as child brides, work as 10-year old family breadwinners, or go to live at an institutional orphanage.