This post will be somewhat difficult for me. Mostly because I don't want to leave anything out. I have much to say, and that is mostly because I do not want to forget yesterday. So, although I hope that YOU find enjoyment out of this, this post is mostly for the benefit of myself.
Shell is a small town right on the edge of the jungle. The climate is rainy and humid, and it’s a very poor town. We decided to make the quick trip to shell and back so that I could see the orphanage there. My mom has told me some about the orphanage, and I’m starting to consider it as a possible future for my family and I (if I ever have a family, that is).
I started thinking and praying about it when my mom told me what the goals for the orphanage were. Their first plan is to get a school going for all the kids (which is already happening), but they need more English teachers, since the goal is to teach half in Spanish and half in English. Since I am going into Early Childhood Education, I could fit in perfectly as an English teacher.
Another step that they are hoping to achieve within the next several years is to build 8 or so houses around the orphanage, and then separate the kids up among those houses with a couple (a mom and a dad) to take care of them. This way, the children can feel like they live in a family.
I think these goals are amazing, and I would love to work with this orphanage some day… although that all depends on God’s will. I feel like it’s crazy of me to even think of this, because I am only 18, but I feel as though the next few years will pass quickly, and there will be a day where I have to make a decision. God may or may not have me in Shell in the future, and all of that depends on many things. It depends on who I marry, how much school I have done, and what my life is like at that time.
This brings me to the orphanage… it was heart wrenching to be there. The moment we walked in kids were hugging us and wanting to be held. They wanted to be held by strangers. They just wanted to love and be loved. We spent almost the whole day with them. Playing with them, holding them, and enjoying them. We laughed a lot, and smiled even more.
The orphanage right now is just one big house full of 56 kids and about 10 or so Tias (caretakers). The age range is probably about 15 to 0 years of age. All of the older girls (5 and up) sleep together in one room. All of the older boys sleep together in one room. I believe that all of the toddler boys (1-4) sleep in one room, while the toddler girls sleep in another. (I may be wrong about that). And all of the babies sleep together in another room.
The whole orphanage seemed like one BIG family with 56 kids. The older kids would help the younger ones. They would hold them, walk with them, help them swing, and help them ride bikes. They would pick them up and hug them if they got hurt, and they would make sure that they were treated right.
One thing that I found so amazing about this orphanage was that they all, for the most part, got along. There wasn’t much fighting, and they seemed to love each other’s company. This is an awesome thing for all of them I’m sure. They go to school together, eat together, sleep together, and live together, and they love each other like they are family.
It was wonderful being there for a day. It was a privilege to love on these children. It made me feel SO loved when they would run up and grab my hand, give me a hug, or want me to hold them. I was needed. Yes, I am needed in other ways. My employer needs me to come to her house everyday to watch her boys so that she can go to school. My friends may need me at some point as a friend, and to encourage them. This was a different kind of need. These children needed my love. They needed my attention. Yes, at work I give my boys my attention and love, but that is because they want it, not need it. It feels so different when these kids know they have lost their parents, and have to depend on others to get love, appreciation, and attention.
These kids were happy kids. So excited for life. They definitely changed the way I view life. Not everything in life is good, but you can make the best of it if you want.
I was playing barbies with a couple of girls, and one asks me in English, “Can you sing?” I reply saying, “No I really have no musical talent.” The girl then said, “Well if you pray to God, anything can happen.”
Their innocence, their faith, their love… it all shines through. It’s powerful. It’s beautiful. It’s life changing.
I hope that someday, I can be that loving, and that faithful. I hope that someday, I can change a life.
|A house in shell|
|Just entering the orphanage|
|They are SO loving|
|They treated you like they have known you forever|
|Kids waiting for thier turn on the swing|
|These two boys were so intrigued with the duck behind the gate|
|She only wanted to be held. But she was SO incredibly sweet.|
|We went on a walk to the river, and all the kids stripped off thier clothes and got into the river! It was so funny!|
|They found it so intriguing!|
|During the trip back, there was SO much fog! You could hardly see anything!|