Mothers Day was different this year. We spent it at an orphanage.
150 kids, from babies to 18 year olds. No mothers for them. Or fathers.
I have been involved previously wih raising money for orphans, to provide a home and a community for those without. But meeting the kids and seeing this place is very different to raising money.
We went with our new 'cell group' (small group from church). The kids put on a concert. It ran about half an hour late. I watched the kids from the orphanage in segregated groups (boys & girls) waiting patiently. Our own kids (maybe 14 kids) bobbed up and down, hit one another with paper, chattered animatedly, made paper planes with their programs.... Hhhmmmm... Entertainment is expected for our kids.
The children from the orphanage had organised the entire concert. They wrote their own play, painted their own back drops, sang in English & bahasa, and a few even played violin. They provided a written program and explanation of the play, which was in bahasa. And it was great.
Afterwards we provided lunch. In true 'ex-pat' form, this was not particularly sacrificial - it was catered!!!! But our kids were able to hand out meals to these kids, who loved it.
The men & boys then played basketball. Our family even took a couple of AFL footys, and decided the AFL should recruit a few! I chatted to some of the girls. They were polite and mature. One of the girl's story impacted me greatly. She was left by her mother with a 70 year old relative, while she was "off doing her own thing" - she was raped by the 70 year old. At the age of 12. And now is at the orphanage with her 3 year old son.
We have four toilets for six people in our apartment. There were two bathrooms for 150 children there.
If my boys wake up, they wander in to our room and know that someone (normally my husband!!) will wake up and listen. The boys at the orphanage, 70 of them, sleep in one room. If a litttle one wakes, they wake an older boy who is responsible for re-settling the child. I can imagine the patience level of some of the teenagers being woken from slumber...
We buy abundant amounts of good quality meat, fruit & vegetables. Here caged dogs wait until they need to be slaughtered when there is insufficient meat.
We spur our boys on endlessly. No encouragement is provided to these children. "It might make them proud".
My boys go to an amazing school, and will have every opportuntuiy afforded them if they choose to take advantage of it. Some of these kids are learning English, and a few may just have some chance of breaking out of their poverty. Maybe. Mostly not.
Every day my husband & I are consciously and unconsciously modelling 'appropriate behaviour' to our boys. 'One of the older boys at the orphanage is very intelligent & academically inclined. They are teaching him how to use cutlery so he is not immediately recognized as being poor.
I love my children so much. There is no one with that unconditional love for those kids in that place.
I often feel that I am not the best Mum I can be. But I am there.
If you are a mum, give yourself a break. I'm sure you are doing the best job you can do.
When you look at your kids, know they are blessed beyond measure to have you available to them. And hug them well. Often.
And next time your child comes to you during the night, thank God that they can.
114: A cell group who chooses to serve.
115: An orphanage. Better than the streets.
116: A wonderful concert.
117: Watching my boys playing with these kids. Getting to know them.
118: Opportunities like these.
119: The chance for my boys to be forever changed.
125: The privilege of being a Mum.
127: Kids who have some hope.
128: Kids who don't have any.
130: Big smiles.