Where Am I?

By Chris S., CE Adviser in China

Day two at the orphanage is going pretty well so far. I had a delightful breakfast of rice porridge. It was all good until I skyped my parents and they were eating crab legs. Oh how I miss eating in excess!

Most of the kids went off to school and the two guys that semi know English went off to visit some families. The rest of the kids are watching a movie on a small computer screen.

I felt incredibly bad a bit ago. I pumped up my soccer ball (football for the Brits) and went out onto the basketball court to kick it around. When I got out there, I noticed a young boy that was missing his foot. His other foot had some toes missing. So basically, I walk out to play a sport that is solely based on have two feet right in front of a one footed kid. I was trying to think of stuff I could do to keep him company. I’m going to start by grabbing my phrase book and seeing how our communication will work out. If I can find him some crutches or a wheel chair I may take him for a walk with some of the others up the road so I can take pictures.

Later that day…

So I just took my phrase book out there, which wasn’t much help at all. I also took a deck of cards and we played a game. Not sure what it was, but I think we just both made up the rules as we went along. I ended up giving the little guy the cards. He smiled really big and said thank you.

After that I helped two older children with their English. I thought that they would have been farther along, but it is hard to say how long they have all been in a decent school.

My emotions are starting to catch up with me. I’m having troubles figuring out this whole situation. For me to be here, I have to sacrifice. No variety in food, kids missing limbs, poor medical care (in China), kids wearing the same clothes everyday, and just an all around kind of depressing environment. For them, it is much more positive. I have grown up a privileged life in the US. I honestly feel like such an asshole for all the times that I complained growing up because I got pancakes two days in a row, or didn’t get something I wanted. I know a completely different life that is filled with consumption. These kids would be in a much worse situation and this is the positive part of their lives. So for me to be here, to have someone else give love, is an incredible experience for them. Two children in particular always want a hug from me or to hold my hand or sit on my lap. And here I am being selfish thinking about how bad they have it. I can honestly say that I have never been in a situation like this. I look at the boy that is missing a foot and all I can feel is sorry for him, but when he looks at me, he just sees someone to look up to, and for no reason other than I am the tallest person here, white, and change clothes everyday.

These feelings are exactly why I couldn’t go into certain careers like social services. I can’t detach myself from the emotion that I feel. Deep down, I know that I should just try to make this week the best for them as I can. Then take that away with me. It’s very difficult. I would like very much to get them all a present when I leave. Something like new shoes for all of them. I need to talk to the coordinator and see what he thinks.

Later in the day…

Just had dinner and went for a walk with the kids. It brought my spirits up a bit. They are the sweetest kids and they surprisingly get along well for kids. It is kind of funny because everyone assumes I speak Chinese. I just smile and shrug my shoulders.

Tomorrow I am going to help some more kids with their English, so that should be good for them. Just downloaded Invictus, so I will watch that in a while.

My two little tag a longs

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