Iowa Resource for International Service (IRIS) is constantly looking for enrichment activities for their Kennedy-Lugar Youth
Exchange and Study (YES) students to learn and give back to the community. With this year marking the 10th year anniversary of the KL-YES program, it is only natural that the students are continuing to do and promote good in the Iowa community.
During the Global Youth Service Day’s events this year, Meutia Hakim volunteered on a gardening project at Abbie Sawyer Elementary School with IRIS. This event inspired Hakim to volunteer on her own, planting fruits and vegetables at the Faith and Grace Garden project, which is at St. Timothy Episcopal Church in West Des Moines. Hakim is a YES exchange student from Indonesia, who is living in West Des Moines for the 2012-13 academic year.
Hakim was especially eager to embark on her gardening adventure. She elaborated in great detail how she planted tomatoes, potatoes, strawberries, cabbage, and much more.
Although the contribution to the garden at St. Timothy Episcopal Church created a more natural atmosphere for everyone who attends the church to enjoy, these fruits and vegetables will be donated to those in need. “First of all, I like to eat. I just can’t imagine if there are other people out there who feel hungry, because they don’t have enough food to eat,” said Hakim.
Hakim expressed that she was originally a bit nervous about this gardening program, because she isn’t a native English speaker. In no time at all, Hakim realized all the good she was doing for the West Des Moines community, and her worries disappeared. In addition to her newly found green thumb, Hakim also made some new friends. “You might not think that it’s a big deal to help, but on the other hand, the people that you are helping might think that you’ve helped a lot. This is the time where you help other people and stop thinking about yourself,” Hakim said.
Hakim volunteered at the garden three to four days out of each week, for about two hours a day. However, it wasn’t all work to Hakim. Hakim has had a lot of fun volunteering for the garden at St. Timothy Episcopal Church. “I love learning how to be a gardener. I now know the difference between certain plants, and I can plant potatoes,” said Hakim. Hakim will continue volunteering for this gardening project until she returns to Indonesia. However, the end of her volunteer work also marks another bittersweet ending, because at the end of June, Hakim will embark on her journey back home.