Monday, June 05, 2006

The First Orphanage

At first I thought Georgia that was a long way to come for 3 days, especially, how much good could we possibly do in just 3 days? Now I see why it is only 3 days! It is an intense experience. For us and the kids. So powerful. We took the kids from the first orphanage out for the day. To McDonald’s first where, to my delight, they didn’t seem to like the food that much. They did love the brightness of the place, especially as we wandered around painting their faces and arms.

It’s unbelievable how quickly kids open their hearts to you. When we first walked into the building where they sleep and entered one of the bedrooms there appeared to be swarms of them. Entering blowing bubbles gave me instant popularity as they clambered to grasp the soapy spheres from the air. And then, after giving them the opportunity to blow the bubbles themselves I spent the next half an hour crouched amongst a fluxing group of kids ranging from two to twelve, coaxing some of the younger ones to try, ensuring some of the more confident ones let the others have a turn and endeavouring to learn all of their names. I think it was the latter that meant some of the quiet girls felt I was someone to be trusted and caused little Salomi to grab my hand as we walked out to the bus.

After McDonald’s we took them all to the park and finally returned them, filled with sugar, back to the orphanage gates. It felt almost cruel to have shown them a day of colour and laughter and love, to take them back to the grey concrete block which they would awaken to tomorrow, and probably every day after. For these kids cannot be adopted, they have no papers and therefore as far as most of the world is concerned, they don’t exist. I assure you, they exist. In all their sweet innocence, they exist to hold our hands, give us spontaneous kisses, sing to us and cry over scraped knees.

The same story with more photos can be seen at

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