Today we moved in 5 of the 8 children into the orphanage. Words can't describe how exciting, exhausting, and emotional today was.
We started the morning off by getting Brenda and Lucy and heading to the compound to pick up the kids. We had asked the guardians of caretakers to bring the kids to the school. When we arrived at school all the kids were there but Nelly. She came walking up a few minutes later with no guardian. She didn't even have anyone to walk her to school and say goodbye to her. We had asked for the guardians and caregivers to pack whatever belongings the kids had. They all had bags that were backpacks and nothing more. We were met at the school by a few of the teachers who have taught these children for years. They were so great in encouraging the kids and telling them this was a big day.
We circled up for a quick prayer and then helped everyone say goodbye to the guardians or caregivers that showed up:
Armond and Brian and Grandmother
Dorothy and a neighbor
Peter and his sister
Nelly with our staff (Lucy and Brenda)
We left the school and the excitement in the car was palpable. First of all, seat-belts were a new thing to learn. The windows in the car were a big hit as well. We drove through the compound and splashed through the muddy streets and made it out to the main road. We took the kids to the social welfare office to get some documents we needed. Megan went inside to ask how they wanted to handle usand if they wanted all 5 kids in their offices. After spending about 40 minutes there with the kids in the car there was confusion on papers and things being stamped and yada yada yada. I went inside to check on Megan and she gave me the "this is insane" look. I knew then my best way to help was to go back to the car and wait. At one point they wanted us to take the kids back home and come back tomorrow which then we explained we were following the directions THEY gave us. After some time Megan did her magic as I sat outside in the car with the kids and Brenda and Lucy and bought everyone cokes and bananas. She finally came outside with a social welfare office who said hello to the kids and we were on our way. When we dodged that bullet!
The next stop was the home! As we drove through the city the kids were giggly and excited. They asked questions about the roundabouts, the fountains in the middle of the roundabouts, the traffic lights and many other things.
We made it to the home and the kids were very surprised! We then let them go inside and explore:
Peter on his bed
Armond learning to use a bunk bed
Dorothy choosing her bunk bed
Brian learning how to open a refrigerator.
The refrigerator is a big deal to all.
WHAT?!?! There is a hidden trash can?! We don't throw our trash on the streets?
Dorothy and Nelly fake washing their hands
After an hour of running around, picking out beds, screeching, learning about toilets and how to use them, inspecting the garden and yard, and of course the refrigerator the kids had lunch. After lunch I headed to purchase fans and many other items we forgot. Like toothbrushes, toothpaste, bread, combs, lotion, you know the basics. I took Peter along with me and we went to one of the biggest shopping centers in the city. Poor Peter the guy visits Manda Hill the first day out of a compound. And of course I made him try out the escelator. He was a pro. He clung to my arm the first time but then we rode it mutiple times up and down.
Peter also got lucky in that his shoe size is a bit bigger than the shoes we had so we headed to the shoe store for a new pair of tennis shoes. Peter has never ever had a new pair of shoes. When I told him to pick out any tennis shoe in the store he said to me "You mean ME, I get to choose anything?" "Yes Peter any shoe you want," I told him. Well this took a while let me tell you. I just might have picked out the shoes myself if I had known this was going to be a process. He walked slowly around the store looking closely at every shoe. I kept reminding myself that Peter has never even been in a shoe store in his life so maybe I should give the guy a break and give him some time. After a long search and examining every single shoe and it's soles (African kids are pratical, he wants a solid sole!) he choose his shoes. I then had to explain to him that he doesn't get the display shoe, they will bring him the right size from the back. After some time we had our shoes and headed to buy fans.
Peter had never been in a store with shopping carts. I quickly learned this as I tried to manevuer through the store rapidly thinking he was behind me pushing the cart. I looked back to see that pushing a cart was a new concept. I slowed down and helped him guide the cart as I purchased the things we needed.
Then Peter and I headed back to the home in time for dinner. We arrived just in time for the electricity to go out and for us to realize the candels we had in the pantry are not there. That was fun. After ten minutes of cell phone flashlights the power came back on.
I quickly helped Lucy get dinner on the table and said my goodbyes for the night:
The crew eating dinner.
So that was our first day! I am exhausted and could write so much more but have to get some shut eye. Tomorrow we pick up Alliness and Andrew and get them settled in the home too. All the kids have medical exams in the morning tomorrow and will be HIV tested if we don't already know their status.
THANK YOU everyone for all your support! Because of you there are kids who are sleeping in their own beds for the first time tonight, and are dry from the rain that is pouring down on us in Zambia right now, and for once in their lives they are sleeping on a full stomach and not a care in the world. GOD IS GOOD!
- Alissa Hollimon