What an absolute humbling experience. The 8 kids lived in a home with a house mother who took care of them.
The kids had all been taken off the street. Some of them were on drugs, some had run away from home and one of the young girls had things happen to her that I can’t even bring myself to mention on here. Each had their own story of heartache, of loss of innocence, of unspeakable sadness, but most of all, each had a story of wanting to be loved, to belong, to be part of a family.
These kids were all taken off the street, cared for, put into school, fed, but most of all they are loved upon…...unconditionally.
The moment our car arrived on the first day, they all ran out to meet us and greeted us all with hugs and the biggest smiles you have ever seen. We were shown around the wee complex, shown the outside kitchen which consisted of an open fire, their sleeping quarters (the girls share a room and all the boys share another room) and we were then invited in to hear the children’s stories. These made me cry, to think of these gorgeous kids being left to fend for themselves, to feed themselves, to find their own clothing and shelter, to basically survive on their own, some as young as 5 or 6!
The kids welcomed us by singing us some songs. I was in tears (yes, I don’t think they stopped flowing that day) the whole time listening to these kids, singing their hearts out, praising God, grins as wide as the Nile, all the while knowing that all their worldly possessions were at the end of their bed in a tiny box, knowing that they had fewer worldly possessions combined than I had carried over in my suitcase, yet genuinely thankful for all they had.
At the end, they prayed for us!
Us! I thought it was us going to pray for them, not the other way around! Again, I couldn’t stop the tears flowing as they praised God for us and all the blessings they had in their lives.
As a gift, we gave each of the kids a balloon which we blew up for them and started hitting around the room. Honestly, I have never had so much fun in my whole life! To see the joy on these kids faces as we bounced the balloons around the room. They were belly laughing with something as simple as a balloon! To hear their laughter was priceless. To find joy in the midst of so much heartache is something that is etched in my heart forever
That is why I went to Africa. To experience the simplicity of life. To understand things which I cannot learn from the comfort of home. To try to comprehend the plan God has for my life and how those kids fit into that plan. To understand the complexities of such a simple life! To see how much joy a balloon can bring to a child.