“Hyung will be back.”
Last year, this was what EXO promised the children. So when a mature EXO appeared in the middle of Myeongdong, the children could not help but tear at their return. Anyone has a idol, but they are regular oppas with normal appearances and for three years they are brothers to each other. Despite their past busy year, they kept their promise and returned a year later.
EXO members D.O. (Do Kyungsoo, 22), Kai (Kim Jongin, 21), Suho (Kim Joonmyun, 24), Chanyeol (Park Chanyeol, 23), Sehun (Oh Sehun, 21), Baekhyun (Byun Baekhyun, 23), Lay (24), Tao (22) on February 27 at 3:00 p.m. visited Seongdong’s Hawangsimni-dong’s Child Welfare Facility “Eden I Ville”. They are the fourth idol group to visit this center this year. They had a fun time playing with children and young adults (0 to 18 years old) and cleaning bathrooms and cafeterias.
Children Taking Baby Steps to See EXO’s Warm Sincerity
The EXO on stage is different from the EXO at Hawangsimni-dong’s Child Welfare Facility. The director said seeing them interact with the children was an utmost beautiful scene not to be missed. EXO sweating on their bare faces was a scene not significantly different from that of peers. As soon as EXO and the director met each other, EXO asked questions like if the children were healthy, if they had adequate clothing, and if there were photo albums filled with the children’s pictures they could see. It is evident that EXO loves the children.
Soon after the members dressed in laid-back clothing, understandingly volunteered to clean the bathrooms. That day was EXO-M members Tao and Lay’s first time at the children’s welfare facility and they were heard getting along with the custodians, sweeping together. There were awkward moments, but with their flexible bodies and long arms they were actively cleaning every dusty corner of the rooms.
There was child who wanted to interact with the good-looking EXO, held the door to the cafeteria but were not able to easily approach the stars turned older brothers. While EXO took the initiative to approach the shy children and warmly greet them, the children covered their faces with their hands in surprise. Like poison, the children were beginning to take baby steps to see EXO’s warm sincerity.
Playing Gonggi, Soccer…Interacting with EXO for 2 hours
After finishing the cleaning, everyone reunited at the multipurpose room. At first the idols and the children were sitting far away from each other, but soon the barrier between their worlds were broken. The members broke up in pairs and in circles began to play with the children. D.O. and Suho, Chanyeol, Lay, Baekhyun made four circles. The members began to play gonggi with the female students.
Even children whose legs were injured were sitting on their knees, threw their hands up in the air to sing along with the chorus. The male idols were learning how to play gonggi with the back of their hands. The children were playing gonggi, receiving encouragement, laughing, fooling around, spending time happily.
Lay, whose Korean was still not fluent, was in cold sweat when he was trying to memorize the children’s names. “I can remember them. In 10 seconds,no, in 5 seconds,” he said and he aligned the children and looked at their eyes as he studied in Korean. One kid who was fond of Lay hyung clung to his back, whined for a piggyback ride. Although Lay looked like he’s got his hands full with the kids, he made sure to protect them from getting hurt. While memorizing the names of the girls, he had one hand supporting the one clinging onto his back, making sure the child didn’t fall.
To idols we might say that a cellphone is a closely-guarded secret. But for the sake of his dongsaengs a cellphone was insignificant. One mischievous kid threw Lay’s cellphone and recklessly pressed its buttons. A teacher reprimanded, “You shouldn’t do that,” but Lay repeatedly said, “It’s okay even if it breaks,” offering his phone back to the child.
The way the magnaes was playing with the dongsaengs had 10 times the typical-brother status. There was probably full of childish strengths. The magnae line Kai, Sehun and Tao were in charge of interacting with the children. Kai was enlightened and shouted “Let’s go play soccer” to the Taekwondo boys, and guided the mischievous boys to the playground.
Sehun and Tao teased the two boys who asked them which idol is the best joker by intensely turning them over on the floor. They displayed a side that was interested in usual bright sports. The hyungs grabbed the good kids’ legs and did not let go. Even though the rules at this facility are strict, at the end everyone is laughing and happy together.
When the time to leave was getting near, each of the EXO members were exchanging greetings and signing autographs to leave their traces there. EXO was signing for over 30 minutes and the children with shining wishful eyes were quietly melting. They were taking their time taking pictures on the children’s cellphones with bare faces. In the blink of an eye, two hours had passed and there must have been a consensus that it was a pity that they had say their goodbyes. EXO said, “We will be back” and at the end hugged the children.
When some of the fans have heard of EXO planning to visit the children at Eden I Ville, to get a glimpse of them, the fans visited the main center and camped there. With courage, “Our oppas,” the children trying to protect EXO said, “get in the car quickly” and pushed them. EXO who found the separation from the children as regrettable, even at the departure, rolled down the car windows and shook hands with the children. Instead, the children were comforting the members.
The time when EXO and the children met, both sides were extremely nice to each other. Due to having busy schedules, EXO immediately after the volunteer activity ended, returned to the practice rooms. After receiving the children’s energy passionately, EXO hereafter strongly wants to return.