It is 9:30 pm here but it might as well be 2 am, completely exhausted as I am. It has been an incredible day, for the most part impossible to put into words that would truly capture the magic that I feel filled this place today. I can’t begin to describe what it felt like to see 8 beautiful faces at the gate, each with a simple bag in hand- a bag that held all of their worldly belongings. Everything they owned. In a bag- a small bag. Can you even comprehend what that would be like? Personally I couldn’t fit my toiletries into one of those bags, better yet my entire world. And yet, there they were.
I can’t begin to imagine what it would be like to stand outside the gates of the very first place that they could really call home. A place where they wouldn’t sleep on a dirt floor in a log and mud hut with a rusted tin roof. A place where the people you lived with really are your family- not by birth, not by blood, but by divine intervention. But there they were, waiting so patiently to enter, to sit around a table and be welcomed, to hear what life would be like in their new home, and finally, to be welcomed into their new rooms, complete with beds with mattresses and bedding, a metal box to hold their own towel, toothbrush and toiletries, a wash basin and a mosquito net. On the top of each bed, a name plate hand-painted and laminated by my dear friend April who lovingly created each one.
The evening was spent learning the ropes, unpacking their bags and putting their possessions in their metal boxes (which are 2 feet long and 12 inches high), finding common ground with “new siblings”, washing up before dinner, sharing a family meal made by the two “Aunties”- both named Sister Aida and both absolutely loving and wonderful around a long table in a thatched-roof hut.
After dinner it was back to the children’s house where I found my way to the girls’ rooms- two rooms connected by a doorway with no door, three beds in each. As one bed has yet to receive it’s resident I claimed it as my own and the girls joined me for snuggles with Hope and Desire sang songs and danced for us. Sweet Hadeja took a cherished handmade necklace out of her metal box and carefully placed it on my neck. She had given me one of the only things she had- and I was touched more than I can ever explain. I then took out my packages of glow in the dark bracelets and we had such fun putting them on everyone’s wrists (Sister Aida included) and then turning off the lights to dance around. You can imagine how difficult it might be to settle them down after that, but these girls, they are gems. After a short while they were all in their beds- which were now decorated with all of their glowing bracelets- waiting for me to tuck them in. I had an idea and ran into the main house to ask mom if she had the hand-knitted bears she had brought. I grabbed 5 of them (5 girls and 1 boy arrived today) and brought them back to the girls rooms’. You have NEVER heard five little girls squeal and giggle as much as these girls did over those little bears. I gave them each one while tucking them in, kissing them on the forehead and telling each of them how incredibly happy we were that they were there. When I left Sister Aida was tucking them in for the night as well and all was quiet. Absolute heaven.