|Claire and Gracie|
Nkoaranga orphanage offers a community and access to education, which is vital for these children in their process. Education is extremely important for the children and they are so lucky to have the school house and access to our own wonderful teacher. We volunteers look back to our home towns and recognize many younger individuals that abuse the opportunity of education, which can change lives here. It's not something we will take for granted again!
|Peter and Shujah|
The orphanage offers good nutrition, medical care, and a healthy environment for these children, which in this society is nothing to be taken for granted. They are bathed and changed continuously, and all the children are very well fed - don't let the fact that they chant "CHAKULA!" or "FOOD!" before each meal trick you into thinking they aren't! The children have a strong bond with each mama, and it's heartwarming to see these relationships. The mamas are extremely hardworking, and the orphanage could not function without them.
We each have our own personal memories of the orphanage - below, we will each write about some of our favorite moments.
|Ester shot by Claire|
|Stine and Ebenezer|
Our greatest moment was to see the development of baby Ebenezer, who suffered from a bad bout of pneumonia when we first arrived at the orphanage. Stine in particular felt drawn to him from day one. He is over three months old but his size is similar to a newborn, despite how much he's grown since first coming to the orphanage. We noticed straight away his trouble breathing, and after a short period of time, Stine felt a strong passion and responsibility and passion to act as his mother would have. She spent most of her time at the orphanage caring for him, and she felt a strong connection whenever their eyes met. After just a few days she could tell he recognized her as well, and felt safe. During our stay, though, he was extremely ill and struggled to keep weight on, as he was also having stomach trouble from his antibiotics - we felt very worried for his health. However, we and the mamas took him to the hospital to be treated, and we are confident he will make a full recovery. We know he is in very caring and capable hands to monitor him as he recovers. We are also very grateful to The Small Things for allowing us to stay involved in his journey to recovery, and to continue to watch him grow and thrive.
We have so many wonderful memories and we are very motivated to go home and take action on some of these critical issues. We feel a strong responsibility to find a way to help. We have met so many wonderful and welcoming people on our trip. Even though they have their own struggles, and most have far less than anyone from our home country, Denmark, they are so happy and generous. We could and should learn from their example. We want to take their attitude and apply to our own lives, wherever we are. The kids will always be in our hearts - there is nothing like hearing them shouting your name in excitement when you enter a room!
While we are here, though, there are some projects that we and The Small Things would really like to take on, that we can't currently afford. These will be continuing into the future, but here is a brief summary.
- English classes: The mamas have thrived in their English studies, and it has made a big difference in their ability to communicate with the volunteers. They have asked us to extend the courses for another three months. To pay for 14 mamas' classes for three months, including all transportation, costs approximately $1,000 dollars.
- School uniforms: The kids have been out of their adorable school uniforms now for a while, because they have been worn to pieces. To purchase new material and sweaters, repair existing uniforms, and pay for tailoring, will cost approximately $500.
- Chickens, rabbits, garden: While Marie and her mom financed the building of a new (amazing!) chicken coop and food for six months, there is still some more work to do to make the entire area optimally productive. The new building requires new fencing, and the replanted garden needs fertilizer. Baba Nicky, our resident expert on agriculture and raising animals, also wants to create a small rabbit area and buy a few rabbits, which will, in time, be a great source of nutrition for the kids (and a lot of fun for them in the meantime). These projects together will cost approximately another $400.
- Micro Grants: as you know from our last post, the Micro Grants project is going incredibly well, but still needs support. Every dollar helps deserving families in the community to support themselves and become self-sufficient business people.