Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Pre-Hope Journey Camp

Today we thought we were going to the orphanage to watch the dress rehearsal, but as we've learned here, things change hourly:-) So....we stay flexible. We were told before arriving at the orphanage today that there would be no kids for the dress rehearsal because they were tired from yesterday. When we arrived, it was a scene of staff busying themselves with decorating the room for the program and they did an excellent job! We also brought some decorations--mostly blow up sea creatures, beach balls, limbo accessories and Hawaiian leis to go with our theme. The staff jumped right in to help us blow everything up and then proceeded to take over hanging it all up. I guess you don't need language to communicate for those things. There were lots of smiles and laughter as funny faces were made trying to blow things up manually while both pumps were occupied. We took a few pictures, but Eva has those, so I'll have to post those later. The room looks great! I think the kids will be very excited. Their gift bags are all packed and ready to go for tomorrow's big day.

We also got a tour of the orphanage today. It is quite an impressive place. We were able to take some pictures of that as well, but those will also be posted later. We were not allowed to take pictures of the children, but had several interactions from interested wee ones:-) One little guy came right up to me and promptly relieved me of my water bottle:-) We also got to visit with the babies in the nursery, which just tugged at my heart. Several were very responsive when I interacted with them and some just cried. It was hard to leave that area, knowing that no matter how many staff they have there, it isn't enough to provide the stimulation that those babies need. The orphanage has a staff of 180 with a total of about 400 children there. Most of the kids that have minor special needs or are healthy are sent to live in foster care, so only the remaining children actually live at the orphanage. They have very bright and colorful classrooms and activity rooms for the children, as well as a couple of playgrounds. It seems to be a very well kept and professional place. I'm continually surprised by the resources they seem to have. They don't seem to want for much there.

Tomorrow is the big day! We meet the officials from CCAA who are coming, have opening ceremonies, the kids' talent show, activities and crafts, interviews with the kids and lots of silliness, I'm sure. Keep checking in, as there are sure to be some great pictures coming!

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