During our first visit, we helped the school staff sort through many of the donations that they’ve received. Our work began with unloading 100-200 boxes from one storage room and moving them by assembly line to different areas: the soap and shampoo donations were taken to one room, while other items were moved down the elevators to the basement and parking lots. The soap and shampoo donations were sorted and stacked based on their expiration dates and then moved back into the original storage area (which was now more cleared out).
We learned a lot during this event. Juri noticed the bars that are set up along the hallways for the blind students to hold onto. We were surprised by the amount of donations Huei-Ming receives! We realized that we saved their staff many, many hours (or days) of work by our two hours of service. We also learned the “do’s and don’ts” of assembly lines: it’s much more efficient to set up a system and stick with it – if everyone runs back and forth to the start whenever they feel like it, things quickly go wrong. It’s also really important to communicate: if work has to stop in one part of the line, others need to know about it so they can hold off on sending more boxes. We learned that working together in a different setting allowed us to see strengths or talents in each other that we don’t get exposed to in the school setting; some people’s physical strength surprised us, others’ leadership or organizational skills were able to shine. For many of us, this was the most intense physical labor we’d done over a two-hour period of time; we learned that it’s important to pace yourself, take water breaks – and not to shy away from hard work because there’s a “good tired” at the end of a job well done.