A Day at the Orphanage-SOAPBOX ALERT!!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Ok sweet friends.  I have got to start today's post out with a big shout out to my momma!  She knows that I love words of encouragement and she has posted like 4 or 5 times on my blog.  If you look at the comments, she is Spanish Class 312.  She has also instructed her blog readers to check out my blog.  Thanks MOMMA!  I love you!
Thank you all for encouraging me to do this.  I have had several sweet friends post on my facebook walls and such.  It really does mean a lot to me!   I am sorry I took a few days off from posting.  Galina's story just breaks my heart and I just thought about it and prayed for her. 
As you recall I was telling you a little bit about our very first day at the orphanage.  This post does take a turn for the soapbox later...But I want to begin with my favorite part....meeting the kids!!!!!
Our group was waiting downstairs with a suitcase full of activities just for that one day.  We had already met some young mothers and babies (they are gonna get their own post).  We were all so excited.  I felt like it was Christmas time or something....that kind of excitement....I had been looking forward to meeting this children for MONTHS...I had been looking at pictures of them on Stella's Voice...I had been watching and waiting...My heart was beating a little faster and I was praying to God (again begging Him to use me...and that the kids would like me...hello insecurities...couldn't you leave me alone in Moldova?)
Then the kids came down the stairs....They are beautiful and amazing children.  I promise I heard angels sing...I was that giddy about meeting them.  Some of the children look more Romanian...they have darker skin and dark hair...and some of them look more Russian...lighter hair stronger facial features.  I tell you what you don't see much of...Red Heads :) 
Let me tell you about these kids.  There are the brothers, Maxim and Vadim.  There are the siblings-Catea, Adrian (not like Aydrian...pronounced more like Ahhhdriahn), Valentina, and Ionut (which is short for Vanusia as it turns out...I will tell you about him later...his name alluded me the first 2 days).  There are sisters, Liuda (pronounced Loooda) and Vica (short for Victoria)...and also Valerica and Doina.  Nadia also came to the orphanage while we were there.  I asked each kid "Cum te chiama?"  That means what is your name.  They would smile at my bad romanian pronunciation and then tell me their name...I would then tell them Me chiama Kathryn.  I was so proud of myself:)  These kids range in age from 4-16.  What amazes me...despite the age differences they ALL enjoyed every single craft or game that we presented..While we were there we worked mainly with these 11 kids.  It was so perfect.  The day after we left they took in about 20-3o more kids.  But, we had a chance to spend one on one time with 11 kids...it was amazing!!!  God obviously knew that these 11 kids needed us!  As the kids came down the stairs we all got very excited and started digging for things in our suitcase.  We got out jump ropes, bubbles, and balls.  We overloaded them with things to do.  We jumped rope for about 30 minutes.  All the kids and adults tried it:)

Adrian jumping rope
Vica, Valerica, and Liuda enjoying bubble time
We blew bubbles all day long.  Fun fun fun!  I think I enjoyed blowing bubbles just as much as the kids...I have always been fascinated by the beautiful colors that you see in bubbles...the pinks and blues...(but I digress). 
One phrase that I learned BEFORE going to the orphanage is "How do you say this?"  or "Cum se spune?"  I was anxious to soak up some of the language from the kids...so I was constantly asking them  "Cum se spune?"  Adrian would answer all my questions about things...and he would correct my pronunciation...I wish I could convey it to you...he cracked me up...he would get so frustrated with my pronunciation of things and he would over enunciate it...and give me this 14 year old look...that said come ON lady!  Despite his frustrations with me, I learned a LOT of romanian words from Adrian. 

Our first day was spent playing with the kids...all day...bonding with them.  We played frisbee with them...we played soccer, we blew bubbles, we just played and played!  It was soooo fun!  This gave us a chance to learn their little personalities!  We learned the phrases "Bravo" and "Foarte Bine"! To tell them "good job"!  These kids are so incredibly athletic...I mean the boys have muscle tone and definition in their arms and pecs starting at a very young age.  These kids don't have access to TVs, game systems, game boys, etc.  Nor do they have a lot of toys...and they don't miss it...do you know what they do?  They play outside...all day...they explore..they teach themselves new skills.  Its just amazing...I don't think I ever heard one of the kids say "I'm bored" like kids do here.  (granted I wouldn't have recognized it if they did.)...but their attitudes are different.  They are thankful for what they have...because many of them come from extreme poverty.  Toys are not important when a child is trying to survive...The family of 4 siblings that I mentioned earlier lived off rations of bread and sugar for the 6 months prior to coming to Providence.  Can you imagine?  We take so much for granted...we think we need appetizers and desserts with our meals...we think we need 700 channels of cable.  What good do these things bring to our lives?
 Going to Moldova (which is sometimes called the Africa of Europe) or Africa or any poor country/location just makes you keenly aware of the fact that we are a country and a people of excesses.  The first week we were back was my birthday (as you may recall).  My thoughts towards birthdays really have changed because of Moldova...(I hope I don't sound to soap boxy right now).  I have always thought that birthdays were crazy important and I put lots of pressure on myself and the people around me to make birthdays important.  It IS important to celebrate the lives of people we love...but perhaps we could be more constructive in our celebrations and less commercial and consumer driven.  Do we really need another piece of jewelry, or another game, or another fashion accessory or whatever it is that people buy you on your birthday?  Do you NEED it?  Really need it?  Does it make an eternal impact on your life?  Does that piece of jewelry validate your existence?  Do you need people to think about you and only you for one day?  If you have a birthday coming up...or are helping someone celebrate a birthday...use it to make a difference in someone else's life...someone who doesn't have clean drinking water, warm winter clothes, clothing, food, toys for a child who doesn't have any, time with a person who needs it...(I had 2 friends use their birthdays last year for Charity Water events) I hope to start using my birthday (and every day) to see that this life is NOT about me.  Its hard...because we are naturally selfish people.  We naturally want everything to be about the individual.  But...that is why there so many hardships for others in the world...we think about ourselves...then our friends and family....and beyond that are brains are just to full to replace it with the problems of people out there in the world.  We are so consumed with the right here and right now...we just can't imagine what is going on in the rest of the world  (or down the street). 
Now..I know that birthdays are not evil...and the birthday party or celebration is an important cultural institution...I don't think buying gifts for other people is a bad thing.  Those of you who know me know that I LOVE buying gifts for people all year!  Its a love language...but I hope that I can channel my gift buying to the people of Moldova...when I feel like I want to surprise someone with a gift...I hope to instead buy a gift and send it to Moldova...that's my plan anyway...I'm gonna pray about it.  Pray for me...that's gonna be a hard habit to break...I love buying people little mementos (that they do not need) to let them know that I love them and I think about them.  I love getting gifts too...they make me feel special...but there are a LOT of other things going on in my life that make me feel special...and I don't need a gift to confirm my specialness:)  I have gone off on a complete rant...I won't apologize...because this has been on my heart...I am not trying to make the people who celebrate birthdays and give gifts feel guilty.  Birthdays are important...Guilt was not my intention at all...I am just letting you know my thoughts on the matter...I want to find new ways to make people feel special all over the world...not just in my little corner.


2 Responses to “A Day at the Orphanage-SOAPBOX ALERT!!”

  1. Ok, I would like to make part of your birhtday present that I still have not given to you a Moldova gift. We will talk about what I need to send in your name. This will be fun and could be a new family tradition for us. We will definitely do this at Christmas. I would love to do Christmas for some little angels.

  2. One of the many reasons I love you momma...lets make it a family tradition for sure!!!