June 10, 2010
There is SO much I could write about today, but I will spare you and pick and choose bits of my journal to blog about here. Although Morgan I missed it, there WAS a childbirth at the maternity ward this morning and 2 of our girls did get to be a part of it which is awesome. I spent the morning at the Tumaini Orphanage setting up for the soccer camp (which later brought over 300 kids!!!) and playing games and dancing with the kids there.
After lunch we visited the government run orphanage, Arap Moi, which was a completely different story. The kids there are filthy, wearing mismatched ragged clothes that generally don’t fit and bare feet.
As soon as we got there, we brought out the bags of clothes that we brought from home to hand out. Immediately, I had a mob of kids climbing up my body pulling at my arms to get a shirt, all of which were at least 6 sizes too big. Jeff said later that he almost stepped in and pulled me out because the kids got so overwhelming in their pursuit of a shirt from me. I’ve never seen kids so desperate to get anything. I didn’t know what to do when I ran out of shirts and still had kids tugging at me frowning. We had so many, how could we have possibly run out? I was astounded to see one of the men on our team take the jacket off his back and give it to a small girl who couldn’t fight to get a shirt.
We spent some time playing on the playground with them and it was obvious that, unlike the Tumaini kids, they don’t get much personal attention. They were so quiet and seemed taken aback at being held and played with. But once you got a hold of them, it was sure hard to let go.
The nursery was an entirely different story withing itself. We were otld before that the babies don’t cry because they’ve learned that crying doesn’t achieve any attention or anything they need or want. It is scientifically proven that babies need skin to skin contact, so every year the team goes to the nursery to spend some time holding the babies. According to past team members, it is always eerily quiet in the room with all the babies and they never laugh or cry or show any reaction. When I first went in today, it was exactly as they said. The babies were lying in their cribs and they didn’t react a whole lot when we picked them up. After about half an hour, the baby I was holding started to smile and then gradually started to giggle and after more lifting and bouncing, finally let out a full out laughter and it was the sweetest sound i have ever heard..or so I thought.
After 45 minutes to an hour of playing with the baies, we began the painful process of putting them back in their cribs. All of the sudden, the babies clung hard to us and began to make noise. My baby clung to my shit and I saw tears well up in his eyes and when I pulled away he began screaming at the top of his lungs. I had to literally run out of the room or I never would have been able to walk out. It was the most heartbreaking sound I have ever heard..or so I thought.
Apparantly, Jeff has never witnessed such a visible or audible reaction from the babies at the Arap Moi. Apparantly it’s a miracle that they gave one today, which may be hard to understand if you’ve never experienced it before because you expect babies to cry. We associate tears with pain and sorrow, which still may be the case here, but it also represents so much more. The babies reacted to our departure because they actually felt human affection and love while we were there. Although it was so sad to hear them cry, it was also the sound of hope. This is a heartbreaking sound, but it is also the sweetest sound. This is the sound of hope. This is the sound of love. It is a sound expressed in pain but is a miracle in so many ways. I will take that sound of pain over the silence of numbness any day.
Before we left, we circled around the kids and prayed over them. These kids get so much less than the kids at the church-run Tumaini orphanage. There are 51 boys in a small room with 13 beds. They fit every possession they own in less than half a cubby..like a shoebox. It’s so unfortunate that the government makes it so hard for us to help them because it is so evident the need for attention and materials, but it’s awesome that we get to come at least for a little while to let them know that we do care and they are loved.
After a bunch of tearful testimonies from the day at the group meeting, it is even more evident how much God is at work in every person here and every place we’ve gone. I am encouraged by so many of the stories and I won’t share them now, but I’m sure I’ll tell them eventually.
Now I am completely drained from all that I’ve witnessed and experienced today. It sometimes feels like at the end of the day we have nothing left to give, but that’s entirely untrue. I’m praying that the team is refueled tonight with energy, strength, hope, and love so we can go out tomorrow and start again. Also, thanking God so much for the abundance of love He has blessed me with. And thankful for the opportunity to share it with others.
Love you guys,