Saturday, August 13, 2011

It’s the simple things that matter.

We all know it, but here with these children, it is really apparent. It’s the simple things that matter. Holding a child who has fallen. Reading to another. Listening to a child read. Playing hand games. Playing peek a boo. Kicking a ball. Just holding a child. It matters. It’s make our kids feel like they are now safe and loved.

I wish I had more arms and legs as each is full to over flowing each day. Particularly with the little kids who are about 18 months to 5 years old. As much as I try, it is impossible to really give any child the attention they really need. Sometimes I think I should just set a 30 min timer and be intentional about it….but as you know…these are kids and it doesn’t work that way. If they want to talk or all jump on you…than so be it. If I am sitting on the stoop I usually have 2 playing with my hair. 1 on each thigh, 1 or 2 on my legs or feet and 2 standing in line or playing with my hands. It is perpetual motion all the time.

Yes, that means if you cared to join me on a trip, then your arms would be full too!

It’s been especially wonderful the last two trips to see how the babies are becoming young girls and boys. Dorcus, Ariena, and Mbaba came to us as babies. Now they understand English and clearly have a pov about life. Each of the kids have their own personalities and it’s good to see them develop. The big kids 9-11 year olds require such different things now vs 5 years ago. They 'tolerate' the group sing alongs, but they would rather be talking football (soccer), on a computer trying to learn math or English or of course…trying to get me to let them have my iphone or local phone to play games. I have been on a bit of a crackdown on this trip – limiting this type of time. Sometimes I hate the fact that I introduced them to technology and greatly increased their dvd movie selection. Gone are the early days where we didn’t have power at night and had to sit around a candle or in the dark to entertain ourselves. Now it’s head down in technology or asking to watch a movies. At the same I do fully recognize the importance of these kids learning computer skills that will help them advance here in school and beyond….so yes, I advance the ball.

I took an early morning walk today….abut 5:30AM hoping to beat the rush before the kids stirred. Of course it was a silly gamble as Prince and Innocent were already in classroom on the computers. I said a quick hello and tried to exit. The gate is always locked and the “uncle” who guards it at night was asleep and the hideout access was not available. I felt terrible about disturbing him but his reply was ‘nah-chee-ba-zo”…no problem Miss Donna.

The bulk of the people here get around on foot. The early morning time is especially busy. Heading in a new direction, the ‘moozoongo’ (white person – me) created a bit more stir than normal. The others in the ‘hood’ have come to know that I am always around and about. I went to check out Abby’s new find. Some American’s apparently have a bagel shop near our place. Bagels? Ya gotta be kidding me. On Saturdays they convert to donuts. I found the shop knowing that it would be too early and didn’t have any francs on me, but it was fun to know it’s there for future visitors/volunteers.

The journey continued up and down the hills. I love this place. On my return I stopped by the Mayor’s office for a visit with my friends there. The line up of visitors all stare as I pass by. I greet them good morning and say hi to all the people I know. It’s pretty funny to see their reaction. I was surprised today that the Mayor’s Assistant – Louise – had a gift for me. I am so used to be the one handing out things, that it really touched my heart. She had two sweet necklaces all wrapped in a white paper with my named nicely written on it. I was so thankful for her kindness. She kept laughing at my response because it was over the top from her point of view. All that she asked is that I take a photo of me wearing it and email it to her. These people never cease to amaze me.

So, that’s the report for today. No exciting stories or adventures…but some times that’s exactly the point of being here. Simply being present.


Sarah said...

You have absolutely crossed a line from being a buddy to these kids to... being a parent Donna! :) That feeling of not having enough time to make sure everyone is getting all the attention they need... AND limiting time on electronics so that they'll remember to visit with each other (even if the electronic time is spent doing good stuff)... is totally the emotions of a MOM! :) Your story, with all your kids, makes my heart so happy. I love to hear the love in your voice when you talk about them and when you write about them. I'm praying for all of you to have an especially sweet time together for the duration of your trip. Love you sweet cuz. oxo

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