Spending time in the Orphanage was an amazing experience, one that will never leave us!
What hit us first, was the building in the centre of the Orphanage – a building that was falling apart, with holes in the walls and canopies, looking like it could collapse at any moment. There were nets over the windows, and the ground was uneven underfoot. It’s hard enough for these children to not have any parents, and to be raised in an Orphanage as it is, but to be doing this in a building that isn’t for for purpose anymore really put it into perspective.
As we walked through the gates, and over to the building, we were greeted by happy, smiley faces from every direction. Despite they living conditions, and their circumstances, they were all extremely happy and excited to see us. From the moment we stepped in through the gate, we were followed everywhere we went, expectant faces waiting to play with us and see what gifts we had bought them.
As we were shown around the Orphanage, we went inside the building. It was here that we saw an old sofa, a small areas for preparing food, a small room with the ‘toilet’ in it, and beds that look very unsteady.
Outside, we were shown something that they were all very excited about. With in the Orphanage, they had many chickens wandering around. In a small enclosure, they had chicks that they were raising. All the children were pointing the chicks, excited at what they were doing, which was a lovely sight!
After we had been shown around, we placed the bags of gifts we had bought, in the centre of the ‘play area’ and watched as all the children ran over. As they took toys out of the bags, they began running around from excitement, and started playing with them. The most popular were the bubbles.
It was amazing to look at the children blowing the bubbles, and then running around after them, as they blew in the breeze. Hearing them laughing and playing with each other, was a lovely sound.
Everything we bought with us was greatly appreciated- something as simple as shoes. They were all so excited, some of the children were huddling around us, wanting to play more with us and the toys.
One of the things we did, was bring with us homemade kits of how to make sanitary products. In Tanzania, when a girl begins to mature, she won’t go to school. This is due to the possibility that someone will see, and as a result, she will be married off straight away. So, we bought supplies that can be used to hide this, allowing the young girls to still go to school and get an education, but to also prevent them from losing their childhood. Yet another thing that we were alerted to, that we take for granted and don’t think about.
Each of the Orphans also had an exercise book, that they were using as a type of diary. We each wrote a message in their books, and it was translated so they would be able to read it. It’s a lovely feeling to know that in a few years, they can look back at our messages, and remember when we came to visit them.
Their favourite thing however, were the cameras. When they weren’t in the photos, they were learning how to use the cameras. They spent hours taking photos, and were amazed by the fact that they could see them on the little screen.
On out last evening, we paid for them all, staff included, to have dinner with us. Our caterer came to the orphanage, and cooked us all a hot meal. It was a lovely end to a humbling few days.