UPDATE: Here are the kids on their first night of school in their brand new PJs! Photo courtesy of The Foundation For Tomorrow on Facebook.
“Orphans are easier to ignore before you know their names. They are easier to ignore before you see their faces. It is easier to pretend they’re not real before you hold them in your arms. But once you do, everything changes.” ~ David Platt
I stole this quote from the Facebook profile of a friend who works full time at another Tanzanian orphanage (shameless plug, check us out on Facebook today!), and it’s just beautiful in its simplicity and truth. Nothing is ever the same once the children become people to you, rather than statistics, and I’m truly grateful for that.
I’m back in the UK now, girding my loins to start classes again tomorrow (eek!), and, of course, missing the kids like crazy. Tomorrow isn’t just my first day back after break, though – it’s also Stevie, Ericki, and Dainess’s first day of school at USA River Academy with TFFT! We are so, so proud of them, and so grateful for all your help in getting them into school – these kids are going to go so far!
From left: Ericki, Stevie and Dainess showing off their skills and saying thanks to all of you!
Not to mention, they’re multitalented – here are a few of the (many!) other things that make these kids particularly awesome.
- They’re absolutely fearless – that’s (from the rear) Dainess, Ericki and Stevie piled onto the piki piki, and mad as heck that we wouldn’t let the guy pull away with them for a ride!
- Dainess has a face made of putty, and she never hesitates to show it off!
- Stevie’s ridiculously large mouth makes him a world class cake eater – you wouldn’t believe his speed!
- I harbor a suspicion that Ericki might have been bitten by a radioactive spider – he’ll happily climb anything and everything, in this case peering through the window of the local school building after hours.
- They’re hams. Plain and simple. But hams with some of the most gorgeous smiles I have ever seen.
- They’re athletic little monkeys – Stevie and Dainessi seen here on the brand new monkey bars paid for with your generous donations – more pictures and details to come. (Special thanks to Hazel Ross Russell for her support!)
People frequently tell us that the kids are lucky to have us – I feel the luck goes the other way. I honestly feel so honored and proud to get to be a part of these fantastic kids’ journey, to be part of helping them reach their potential. We can never truly replace their parents – but I know that, together, we feel as much pride and take as much joy in their growth as parents would – and I hope they know, tomorrow as they take this huge step forward and every day, how much they are loved.