we visited Mother Teresa's Home of H*pe!!
If you didn't know, this is one orphanage that places children for adoption.
BUT everything is on hold right now until Rwanda enters into the Hague Convention.
which will hopefully be sooner rather than later!
Could take 6 months
No one knows.
We were greeted by a nun with the SWEETEST smile and a few EXCITED little kiddos--that looked to be about 2 years old.
The kids jumped into our arms and the nun led us on a short tour, half of which I missed because I stayed in the play area with the children when we got to that part.
I just couldn't help it!
This orphanage is home to about 100 kids from birth to 7 years old.
They have strict visiting hours from 8:00-10:00 am and then again from 3:00-4:00 pm.
NO pictures are allowed under any circumstances. They say they want to protect the children's privacy since these are adoptable children.
There were a few little ones with apparent disabilities and I noticed that they were in a safe room with plenty of caretakers. I played for a bit on the floor with a couple of these little guys.
So great to see them smile!!
All the other kiddos were outside in a play area that was made up of a concrete porch and extended concrete area. There was a small fenced-in grassy area with old metal play equipment in it but NONE of the kids played there.
Wes went down the slide and got the air knocked out of him.
Now we know why they don't play there.
They were all running around on the concrete and picking up small sticks and wood chips from woodpiles nearby.
No toys were seen anywhere.
We brought out our coloring books and crayons first.
We had enough for every child to have more than one sheet and a couple crayons, but they could not wait to get their piece of the fun.
Have you seen "Finding Nemo?"
You know the part where the birds all start saying, "Mine"?
Okay, it did not take me long to understand the Kenyarwanda word for, "mine."
I was tackled for paper and crayons.
Others on our team tried to get some from me to help pass them out too.
It was C-R-A-Z-Y!
Once everybody got their paper and a crayon or two, things kind of settled down.
All of us had no less than two kids on our laps or backs, and/or shoulders at all times.
These little ones do not have diapers....so you can imagine...
They showed me their coloring and wanted me to color on their sheet too.
I smiled a lot and spoke praise to them for their coloring.
Emily and Wesley felt overwhelmed and were not having fun. The initial chaos was a little much for them. They both sat under the porch for a bit to kind of ....deal with it.
I don't blame them--it was hard.
They both re-engaged again once Caitlan started leading some fun songs with the kiddos. They helped lead too.
It was going great....until....
we had the not-so-bright idea to bring out the inflatable balls we had brought.
We had about 15 to 20 balls--still needed to blow them up.
There were about 40-50 kids running around.
What were we thinking????
We start blowing up balls and the chaos started all over again.
Seriously---what were we thinking??
Our time was almost up and we had successfully blown up all 15 piddly little balls and caused about 30 kids to start screaming and crying.
Some of our team tried to engage the kids in some group play with the balls but that didn't work.
Hugging tear-stained faces.
About to cry ourselves.
Once we got to the van, I asked our interpreter if the nuns just absolutely hate us. We come in and stir up the kids for 2 hours and then leave them crying.
It felt like a disaster.
Christine said the nuns do not hate us. They do not get to hold all the children long enough so they are happy to have us and the toys we bring. I was not convinced....until later....
So we headed out to drop off the boys at Home of Innocence and the girls went grocery shopping for Home of H*pe.
We bought rice and sugar
This is the street we drove on to get to the store
The boys started painting their cars we brought--they had lots of fun painting and racing them
Today, I noticed the boys keep their toothbrushes outside in the window sill--not in the bathroom.
ate lunch at a place called New Fiesta--owned by a Rwandan who had spent some time in the States. The name sounds like it might be Mexican food, but the only thing that was kinda 'mexican' was the chips and salsa.
It was good!
We went back to Home of H*pe for the 3:00-4:00 visiting hour.
I am so glad we did!
I wish I had made Emily and Wesley come back because it went so much better this afternoon.
We get into the play area and we see HAPPY children playing NICELY with the balls we had left.
I thought for sure the balls would have disappeared never to be seen again after we left this morning.
It was time for them to drink milk so we sat with them at their little tables in a covered area.
They had generous amounts of milk--and were offered seconds and thirds if wanted.
I was thankful to see that.
After milk we had time to just sit and play in the concrete area.
I had 3 kids on my lap and at least 3 kids combing my hair with sticks.
The "mamas" also brought out bananas for them to snack on while we were there.
I sang to them, prayed for them, prayed for forever families for them, prayed adoption would open up quickly again in Rwanda.
We gave lots of kisses and hugs as we left.