What an amazing day! The playground was completed in TWO DAYS!!! The kids were so thrilled to be allowed to play on it and the joy on their faces made everything so worth it.
I spent my day inside with the kids. In the morning we had younger kids – probably around 6 or 8. We made bead necklaces and bracelets and played with wiki stix. The kids loved it but even more than that, they loved our cameras. They wanted to pose with us and wanted to take pictures. We also played with sidewalk chalk and taught them duck, duck, goose – they thought it was hilarious!
Many children in this group were affected with fetal alcohol syndrome. It’s heartbreaking. Such sweet, loving kids. Two little boys completely captured my heart – one was named Phillipe and the other had a very difficult name. They gave me many hugs, held my hand, and most of all lit up the room with the most gorgeous smiles. Another little girl enjoyed tickling me – she was an absolute doll. They so enjoyed having us just focus on them. I love that laughter and smiles are a universal language!
In the afternoon, I went to help with crafts and did for awhile. And then I had a chance to teach six of the teens how to play Uno. This was perhaps my favorite time so far. They were super impressed with my ability to shuffle cards which was adorable. The teens ranged in age from 13-17. I spent about 1 ½ hours with these kids playing game after game. They caught on very quickly and definitely enjoyed making each other Draw 2 or Draw 4 or skipping someone’s turn. When they pulled out a candy and shared a piece with me, I was so touched. They laughed at my sad attempts at language but I tried and they tried some English on me. They asked how old I was and wanted to know about my family in America. Seriously, such precious moments. I want to bring every single one of those kids home with me. One boy, Stas, was a quiet boy – he had the sweetest twinkle in his eye and beautiful smile. He later found me and asked me to take his picture on the new playground.
Spending time with the kids is wonderful. It was what I was looking forward to the most on this trip. They love the adult attention. Laughter and smiles prevail. I will carry them in my heart forever. And I look forward to more memories, more hugs, and more shared time.
I can’t wait to share pictures but it is too difficult to upload them from here. I will still have so much to share when our time here comes to an end.