Friday, 8 April 2011

All the News That's Fit to Print

Today we visited orphanage "B" again. This morning we made about 115 peanut butter sandwiches, then crammed into a stifling hot mini-van for an extremely long and slow ride to the orphanage. I think it ended up taking us an hour and a half to get there. We were hot and sticky and so glad to get inside the compound. Somehow that made the smell more bearable.

This trip was easier than the last one. I was better prepared for the things that we would see, and, I made a real effort to put things into perspective- there are 50,000 children living on the streets of this city. The 110 kids in this orphanage really are better off than any of the street kids. No matter how dark their lives seem, there is an even worse alternative. At least these kids can count on being sheltered from the elements and a meal or two a day. Instead of focusing on how dark this orphanage is, which is easy to do, I focused on bringing whatever light I could. I've been studying Isaiah 58 this week (highly recommend, it's a fantastic chapter), and it's been very encouraging- while I can't bring justice to these oppressed kids, I can show them love. I can make sure they have full bellies for an afternoon, that someone smiles at them and pays them a compliment, gives them a little tickle, or demonstrates an exploding pound-it. I can blow bubbles to make them laugh, and take pictures and show them. It isn't much, it isn't justice, but it's something.

Today while we were there the head Mama asked us for money to take a sick baby to the hospital. She said she would do it whether or not we helped, but wanted to ask to see if we would. Of course, we asked to see the sick baby, and she let one of our group verify that the little girl needed medical attention. Apparently this baby arrived at the orphanage that morning, in very severe shape. According to my friend, she was skin and bones and nothing else. Nothing else. Not even an ounce of fat. She had so little energy she couldn't even close her mouth or move; she just lay still as death on the bed. This little girl is starving to death; by the time you read there is a good chance she will already be gone. I hope that the money we provided was used to lessen her pain in those last hours. There are so many "what ifs" and "if onlys" in a situation like this, and sadly, this kind of thing happens all too often here.

After our trip to the orphanage we ran some errands in town and got some lunch and ice cream. We had driven past this particular ice cream place multiple times, and had intended to go for over a week now, but it just never worked out. I so wish we would have gone sooner. It was very yummy and reasonably priced (amazing, because everything here is absurdly expensive). While I was at the counter someone asked me where I was from and what I was doing with Mtoto. I hesitated. Adoption is not well-understood or accepted here, and some adopting families have received negative or threatening feedback. I was nervous, but when I said we were adopting they immediately congratulated me and wished me well. That was nice, and so was the ice cream.

Jeff's visa arrived! He is getting things together for the trip and will leave shortly. I can't believe how close I am to coming home. I am really looking forward to having a little time with Tommy before Mtoto comes home. I think having some time with him beforehand will make the transition a bit easier. Mtoto has a little cold, which is making him unhappy. He really does not like having snot running down his face, so I am learning to be quick with the tissues. Thankfully tissues happen to be one of the products most commonly sold on the streets here, and you can typically buy a pocket pack for a quarter or so- depending on whether or not you are paying "mzungu" prices- so I am never in danger of running out.


Jeanine said...

Praise God Jeff got his visa! See you soon :)

Haley Ballast said...

So glad things are moving along and that God is giving you opportunities to serve him and the people around you while you are there! We are praying daily for you all.