Wednesday, March 9, 2011


During the 2.5 weeks on land, a group of about 10 of us from our Gateway group worked at the Cheshire Home. The Cheshire home is an orphange for kids who have physical disabilities- some of which also have mental disabilities. Some of these kids have parents, some do not- I'm not sure we ever really figured out everyone's background, or ever will. Cheshire also has a primary school program, where the kids who live there attend school, as well as many from the community. The older kids venture out daily for secondary school on crutches or in their wheelchairs.

We came in and on one of the first days, one of our leaders was told that Cheshire would like us to take both the morning and afternoon(normally school time) with the kids so that we might be blessed by them as well as them being blessed by us... so.. we had probably about 3 hours more per day than we anticipated. In the end, it worked out perfectly- We would arrive somewhere between 9 and 10:30(depending on traffic and how long devotionals took) and break for lunch at noon, come back around 1 and finish around 3. If we kept to our initial schedule of 2-5, we would NEVER have gotten back to the group then to the hostel on time... ever... hah:)

Basically, what we ended up doing with the kids is a VBS type deal. We decided early in planning to teach on the fruits of the spirit, which was perfect because then we had 9 days of material and one free day to do what we wanted. In the mornings, we would normally start with puppets(Tomba and Tolu) who would basically act out a scenario that fit our theme for the day- an introduction, if you will. Then we would normally have the 'teacher' of the lesson come up and teach(we rotated daily) and we'd sing songs- some that applied to the theme, a few that we did daily, and normally one goofy song(thank goodness I learned a bunch at Dragonfly last summer:)). By this time, it was normally around 11 or 11:30, and if we had time, we'd do some reading together, draw, or do anything else we could come up with. When we returned from lunch, we'd normally do a craft, which literally took up the whole afternoon- these kids LOVED doing crafts- so great:) They were really really talented as well, but dont have the supplies to participate in these kinds of activities normally, so they were at a bit of a loss of how to use scissors, draw hearts, or even fold their paper properly.

I think I got so much more out of this experience than I had ever ever ever imagined. As we got going, I started kinda getting into the motions, but then every day something would happen that would either take me by surprise or excite me or just rattle me. As we approached the end of our time with these kids, I began to realize how little I processed about them. We witnessed some things that really shocked me on the second to last day, and it completely broke me. It all hit me at once, and I began to absolutely dread saying goodbye to these kids. Fortunately, we live within 25 minutes walking distance of the orphanage, so I've had the chance to see them again since we left, but it's been difficult.

The day we had to say our goodbyes, we had a great afternoon which included coconuts and little 'goody bags' which had a water bottle, underwear, socks, a lollipop, potato chips, and popcorn in it. I never saw kids get so excited about these things until that day. It went flawlessly- the kids were generally behaving, and all was well, until we began to leave. It was seriously the worst thing that could've happened in that moment. One kid began to cry, and then they all began to cry, which kinda set us all off. I had to pull myself together and pretend I was fine as we left so that they wouldn't get even more upset- but it felt like someone tore my heart out in that moment. How do you process something like this- I was completely bewildered. Thankfully, I had a very observant roommate who helped me through, as well as some great friends who just listened to me as I processed and got it all out- man was that a doozy.

I've included a few pictures, but check out my facebook for all of them:)

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