We finished our first full day of work. It was long and it was HARD! We started our day by being picked up at 7 a.m. which wasn’t a big deal since most of us had been awake since 5 something… Oh the joys of jet lag. :) Hopefully the challenge and manual labor will help us to have a good night of sleep tonight. Overall everyone is doing pretty well – a little nausea and colds but nothing more.
Most of the holes had been dug and the main frame pieces were cemented in before we came. That left us with nine holes to dig by hand. The soil is full of rocks (big and small), glass, roots, and more – we found things like exhaust pipes and shoes. Today, we finished digging the holes, setting the pieces, and cementing. My team was on the playground all day. We accomplished a lot.
I loved interacting with the children! They range in age from 3-upper teens. The compound of buildings were nice and the children seemed well-cared for. There were a variety of different needs among the kids including fetal alcohol syndrome. Many of the kids joined in and helped with building parts of the playground – it was awesome to see them taking part. They were friendly and since we all had name tags in Russian, they enjoyed pronouncing our names. Lots of smiles and hugs and laughs.
When we were nearly finished for the day, we had a chance to play with some of the younger children. They were so sweet. One of them especially enjoyed taking pictures with my camera. :) One little girl loved to be held and her sister presented us with flowers. I fought the tears back and enjoyed the moments with these precious children.
It’s surreal to be back here in Kaz. I’m treasuring the time. The people and country of Kazakhstan have made a lasting impression on my heart. They are warm and hospitable. And the children make me never see the world the same again. The orphan plight is tragic.
I’m so thankful to be a part of bringing joy and hope. I’m thankful to once again be reminded of our responsibility to care for orphans. And I’m thankful for a chance to give back to a country that has given us two of the greatest gifts. My heart is full, tears are never far, and I genuinely wish that there was a way I could take care of each of these children.