The first night you would think it would be rather easy to sleep. Without a doubt my eyes are heavier than I could ever imagine. I lay still on a small twin bed with a mattress no more than 2″ thick, the pillow is small, and the lighting is pitch black. All in all, I feel like I was so tired I could sleep in the middle of an AC/DC concert. . . but I can’t. Its the realization that I am now half way around the world, in a totally different hemisphere, and the last 9 months has built up to these coming moments. I pray in thanks that everyone so far has made it safely. My mind races and soon, I fall a sleep.
– – – – Silent humming starts to echo off the cinder block walls. Followed by singing, doors shutting, and the morning hustle of the children preparing for school. There is no need for an alarm, the pure organic sound that arises before the sun shines is sure to do the trick.
The children awake at 5am to get dressed, do their chores, and eat a tiny cup of breakfast in order to be at school by 7 am.
I roll out of bed to greet the children. My hair is. . . well, I didn’t even want to look. I have baggy sweats, glasses, a big sweatshirt, and a thermos filled to the brim with warm kenya instant coffee. As I open our heavy apartment door I notice that a thick moist cloud has melted into the ground. It never rained, but looks as though a rain storm passed through the night.
Everywhere you look are children moving with purpose. They say, “hello” “Jambo”, some even say that I look ‘smart’ because of my glasses. But each one has a job to accomplish as the sun starts to peak over the distant mountains. We may say these are chores, but they call them duties. It is not a job, nor a chore, but a duty to care for the home that has rescued them from the streets.
Rescued them from homelessness.
They drag flimsy buckets full of water across the large concrete pavers and begin to mop every square inch with old torn t-shirts. Inside the kitchen children wash the dishes by hand. The walkways are swept using straw reeds jammed together to form a make-shift broom. But as quickly as they started, many have mastered their duty and are done before you have a chance to take in both the beauty and awe-stickenness of what you are witnessing.
I follow them.
I turn around the orphanage gates to the muddy morning misty road. It is filled with children dressed in green uniforms, socks up to their knees, and heads down to ensure they don’t slip and fall. For many, this was the end of a 3 mile journey to school and have arrived early for their 7 am start.
This is their daily life. I can only imagine that back at home, as we lay our heads down on fluffy pillows, memory foam mattress, and cozy down comforters. . . at that same exact moment, half way around the globe this is occurring. Children walking, and starting their day to get an education, that for many, their parents have never received.
We are truly blessed.