June 4, Tuesday – In the eyes of a toddler

By Tiffany Abera

Today was my day with the kids. Wasn’t sure what I was getting myself in to when I stepped foot into the compound. I was placed in to the toddler’s room for the first half of the day. There were so many of them. Some weren’t shy at all and immediately wanted to sit in your lap and hug them and pay attention to only them. They are quite scrappy I might add. Also, a lot of screaming and crying. Good thing my sweet and darling little brother prepared me for their joyous lungs filled with God’s wonderful gift of loudness. 😀 Then there were others that had to warm up to your presence. As usual I won most all of them over. They were such a handful and usually there are only 2 women in the room with like 12 toddlers. There was a lot of snot and baby juices in this process and they each have their own personalities. It was a lot to handle without any caffeine. I’m not going to lie I’m not the biggest fan of germs and bodily fluids so when potty time came I was way out of my element. There were 12 toddlers running around with icky butts with no pants or diapers wanting to climb all over me. One was a little sick and had stuff dripping on the floor. I wanted some Lysol to be honest but they are babies and they can’t help it. I felt better when they had fresh diapers back on. Eventually it was nap time. Thank God for nap time.

I got a few hours to look over my reading materials for the project and to eat my chips for lunch and then waited for the older kids to get back home from school.  My first materials for understanding the foster care system in Ethiopia were quite lengthy, but I found some good introductory information. I can’t wait to have the internet so I can finally have some good solid research time.  Not being able to have almost near constant www. access is a tiny bit traumatizing when trying to figure out how to do research. Can’t imagine what life was like before google scholar and ebsco host. Lol Now that I have a good feeling I just want to get started since time here is so limited.

Finally the kids arrived back to the orphanage. I’ll admit it was harder to try and establish a connection with the older kids maybe because as we grow older we learn to not trust people as much. I hope in time that they might be more willing to talk with me. I already have my favorites in the group of older kids although they are all adorable there will always be the favorites. Yes, your parents have a favorite child. It’s a lie when they tell you that they don’t.  There is one child who won’t talk hardly at all. He is such a sweetheart and so inquisitive. I got him to say cookies today though. Hehehehe. My favorite word!

The older boys love playing soccer and tetherball. It is pretty funny to watch them interacting with each other. When the tetherball gets stuck on the top of the basketball rim they hold each other up so that they can untie the ball to continue playing together. The teamwork was outstanding. Sure wish we had more of that in our own communities and social settings.  Imagine what a little teamwork can get us if we are all working towards one goal!

A few things I learned today besides the fact that I will not be having children anytime soon is that there is need all over this world.  If it is not food or water then it is love.  These children both younger and older just want to belong and to be loved. Yes, they are loved by our Father, but earthly love is needed as well.  There is only so much that the dedicated staff can do for each child.  They need more because they have so little and are battling against all odds to make it to the top.  I wish I could bring them all back with me and to give them what I was so blessed to have. It might not have been much, but I knew who loved me and I had a home to call mine.  It seems daunting to try and change the world just by ourselves, but if we connect together we can change one tiny piece at a time. Those tiny pieces will add up in the end and really can change the world as a whole!  Now that I have seen it with my own eyes I can no longer avoid the discomfort that comes with seeing poverty first hand.

Also, I still don’t have my luggage.  Alright Ethiopian Airlines, I’m not feeling the new spirit of Africa so give me my luggage back. Thank you or Amesegenalew in Amharic.

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