Santiago Chamorro: Volunteering at St. Maria’s Children’s Dining Room

For my CIP, I volunteered at St. Maria’s Church to help its members set up and manage a dining room for children. This activity mostly consisted of helping prepare food, setting up tables, and interacting with the children that come to visit. This CIP is filled with kind and patient volunteers who helped me with my tasks, and allowed for me to practice Japanese through conversations we had while working. The children are also great. They are energetic and very nice, and although the speed at which they speak may be a challenge, they always  cheered me up with every visit. Apart from preparing the food, you also get to share a meal with the volunteers and children, which gave me a great experience to enjoy some homemade Japanese food and to practice Japanese with the people I sat with. In this CIP I not only got to practice my speaking in a very active environment, but I also got a deeper understanding of this small sect of Japanese society. For anyone interested in this CIP, I recommend to be ready to interact with children and adults, and to communicate in a bit of a busy environment. It can be a little challenging at times, but it is very fun!