Today was a day that I have been looking forward to and dreading at the same time for quite a while. We went to see the orphans from Dobromyl, who we worked with the first and second years I came, and I knew that I would probably see some familiar faces. While it is always nice to see people again who you know, I would never hope that I would see the same orphans in the same orphanage six years later. When we arrived after a two and a half hour drive, we immediately recognized familiar faces. In particular I was happy/sad to see a girl named Oksana who was just a tiny girl when we were there previously. She has Down’s syndrome and you cannot find a happier girl. When we saw her today she immediately came and gave hugs to everyone. Many of the other kids remembered the Americans who have visited them before.
In crafts, we made the friendship bracelets—I was amazed at their skill in braiding such nice braids. Some didn’t even know how to braid, but once Nadya taught them, they caught on immediately and made beautiful bracelets. While the other kids all week have not cared whether or not they keep the little plastic bag the kits came in, these kids treasured them as something to keep up with what little belongings they have.
After rotations were complete, we built a fire and had S’mores with the kids, but we had to cut it short because the orphanage was being inspected that day and we shouldn’t have had outside food to give them. At least all the kids were able to get at least one. We also had bubbles for them to blow, although we had to hold the bottles for them—not enough to let every child have one. It is amazing the joy they get from such simple pleasures like S’mores and bubbles.
One small victory for me today was that I have been humbled enough that I used the restroom at the orphanage. This is such a small thing, and while it may seem strange that I’m blogging about this—gross!—five or six years ago when we were here I could not bring myself to use the toilet that these kids have to use every day of their lives. I will not say it was a pleasant experience, but when I couldn’t even walk into the restroom a few years ago, it was something I could never forget—who am I to say I’m too good for a bathroom? Thank you, God, for helping me to grow in such a simple but important way.
|Helping to tie on a friendship bracelet|
|Simple joys--this boy was here six years ago. Just a tiny child--the cutest. Still there.|
|Oksana waving goodbye as we drove away|