Wednesday 15 Jan
Our time at the orphanage has been split between painting the boys rooms and building a chicken house. Seeing what the boys have in their rooms really opens your eyes to just how lucky we are and the huge gap that exists. I listen to the children I teach moan about their “old” phone or that the internet is slow, and yes I have to put myself in that last group at times. Yet watching the children here they are happy with what they have, they move around with huge smiles and always great us with joy in their eyes, how often can I use the word humbling…
Our main focus for the first few days was the painting, the builder needed to remove asbestos from the building we’re turning into a chicken house, so we stayed away. The existing paint is in pretty poor shape, very flaky, I’m not sure the walls have ever been sealed. We started by moving furniture to give ourselves space, then began patching the larger holes in the walls. The walls gave up clouds of dust as we gave a light sand to prepare them for hole filling. As we finished patching one room we moved to the next to give the filler time to dry, it may be hot here but it’s also very humid so drying time is extended somewhat. When the filler had dried it was sanded again and then brushed down before we set to work with rollers and brushes, I wish we had a spray gun to speed things up. As you paint you then discover the unsealed flaky paint just want to lift away in some places, leading to either more patching or just painting over as best we can. The finished walls are many times better than before, but whether they’d pass a professional inspection I’m very doubtful. As the boys return from school they are obviously pleased with the results though, their smiles and laughter brighten the rooms.
As 4pm rolls around we stop for the day, well pleased with our efforts but somewhat shattered. I think I’ve lost a few kilos just from sweating today, my clothes are saturated, it’s like I’ve jumped in a pool full dressed. After a brief rest we all hit the showers, I never though cold water bucket wash would be so damn good. After a rest it’s time to head to the dining hall for bible study and more of the children’s amazing singing, it really does lift you up. Some of the boys had cooked for us tonight, just as they take it in turns to lead the study they also share the cooking roles around. Great cooks their too, laughing and singing as they cook, always with their beaming smiles.
After dinner I turned in early, sleep was calling.
Friday 17 Jan
Our day yesterday was the same as for Wednesday, patch, sand and paint. We’ve finished two of the boys rooms completely now and hope to power through the remaining two today, they each been patched and some paint applied. The more we do the more we want to do, wherever we look we see things that could be done to make life better for the children here.
Last night after dinner we gathered with a few of the staff for a quiet Bintang, I’m not 100% sure that everyone saw the memo about it being quiet. With very little Bintang but big senses of humour it quickly turned into us all laughing together.
Today we have worked like Trojans and finished painting the boys dorms, it’s quite a good feeling to look at the rooms now and thing what they were like only three days ago. The looks on the boys faces over the last few days as we shuffled their furniture around in the rooms to be able to patch and paint has been quite amusing. But the looks this afternoon when all the rooms were completed was amazing, huge beaming smiles and many terimah kasi’s. it really is great to be able to do something for these kids.
We’re resting now after removing the layers of paint from ourselves before heading down for yet another amazing meal. Tomorrow we are thinking of heading into a nearby village to do a little shopping for the orphanage. We want to get the boys new curtains to match the new paint as well rubbish bins for their rooms. Little things we take for granted that may just help keep their rooms tidier.
Saturday 18 Jan
I have no words to fully describe today. We went to visit Blimbingsari, the orphanage for the younger children. My heart just melted looking at these younger children, so full that of joy and wonder. We visited their classrooms and spoke with the older children. With the younger preprimary children we sang and danced. They loved doing the the Hokey Kokey and singing along to Father Abraham.
No more words, just look at the pictures.