Today we went to God’s Grace Orphanage. There are 90 children living in a small 4 room house on a small piece of land. Some of the children are very young, maybe 8 months old. The rooms are used as classrooms during the day, then at night the babies are put to bed side by side on a small bunk bed. One classroom becomes the sleeping room for 38 boys, The room is about 3 x 3 meters. The 52 girls sleep in a slightly larger room, maybe 3 x 4 meters. There is a shed that is used as another classroom by day, and a goat shelter at night. The kitchen is a small outdoor covered area with an open fire. The entire operation is run by volunteers with food donated by neighbours when they have enough. Some days the children do not eat.
We arrived in the morning with gifts of clothes, school supplies and home made dolls (thanks to the people in Kelowna that provided all this). Each of us brought 3 books from the centre to read to the children. The children were very excited when we arrived and swarmed over us all trying to hold our hands. We each sat in the shade with a group of new young friends and read books, laughed, sang, and talked. Children vied for the opportunity to sit next to us or on our laps.
Marina was immediately surrounded by a captive audience. Ellen ended up with a little guy, Eli, velcroed to her body. He, along with 5 other kids, was recovering from a bout of malaria and had just returned from hospital. Kathy’s new hip appendage, Shamir, was also just back from hospital, but for treatment for sickle cell anemia. In spite of everything the children were upbeat and happy. They loved the books. As some became restless they started running around the yard, blowing bubbles with soapy water from the washing some adult was doing. Some kids did gymnastics in the yard and we got some great pictures of upside down kids. All the kids loved having their pictures taken, and even more, loved using the cameras to take pictures.
Bree and her group are working hard on their plan to develop a garden to help feed these lovely children.
We will always be grateful for the opportunity we had to spend time with the children and the adults that are dedicated to caring for them.