Sunday, March 29, 2009

Bali Orphanage 2009

I am so thankful for all the many people who supported and donated to the cause of helping out a couple of orphanages in Bali Indonesia. It was an experience of love I will never forget.

It all sarted with a dream to help out at an orphanage. I didn't care initially which one. I just wanted to help wherever. When I found out about Bali and knew I wanted to go I looked on the internet about their orphanages and adoption centers. I was surprised to find that no children can be adopted from Indonesia. I was also shocked at the replys I got back asking for help. They were asking if I could bring clothing, hygiene kits, medicine, and food. I knew I could round up clothes and hygiene kits, pack them in two checked luggage bags and be on my way, but now my heart was touched. I wanted to help more. I wanted to round up money and buy food there to bring to them. My only problem was I was leaving in 2 weeks. I needed to find donations quickly.

The devestation of the economy has been very prevelent on everyone's mind. It seems like in America that is the main topic at dinner and social gatherings. It is plastered on the news. If the economy is hitting America hard, it has got to be hitting other countries just as bad or even worse. So is the case in Bali. A lot of their economy runs on tourism. When it is down, they suffer at even greater depths.

Money donations were rounded up due to very helpful people with big hearts. In two weeks I was off with clothing, hygiene kits, toys, and money. I only had a map of where the orphanage was and a hope that I would find the right driver to take me to a grocery store and to the orphanage successfully

Everything turned out beautifully. We met Wayan, a vey nice man, with a beautiful family who said "no problem" when I asked if he could take me to a big grocery store and to the orphanage--stay all day with me and then bring me back to my hotel.

I told Wayan I needed flour, sugar, and oil to buy. He, of course, said 'no problem.' We all got a good laugh when he pulled up to a flower stand so that I could get some good 'flour' before I got sugar and oil. I guess our language can be a little tricky.

Then we went to get the real flour, sugar, oil, rice, cleaning supplies, fruits, veggies, treats, etc.

We loaded up his van as full as we could. We bought 3 large cart full of different kind of cooking foods and treats for the children. Of course everything was healthy for the kids because of my nutrition background. I new candy would not be the best thing for them or last as long in their bodies.

When we got to the orphanage everyone was very kind. The place was small (approx. 900 sq. feet) and 17 children from ages 5-18 live together in 3 bedrooms. The place was humble, but very clean and you could feel the love in that home.

I learned so much from these children. I was amazed at their respect and love for one another and for their elders. Each child would approach you with outstretched hand and say welcome, what is your name, and my name is___. Even the little children with limited english skills could say that. They of course were excited to show us their room and the map they had on the wall and some pictures of a few trips they had taken around Bali.

(I do not have many picutres of our day at the orphanage because they do not like a lot of pictures to be taken of the children. I think we can all understand why)

We then went to the van and everyone helped haul all the groceries in and the suitcases. It was so much fun as we gathered on the floor in a circle and opened the suitcases full of clothes and toys. The care takers (bless their hearts) looked through all the groceries and started putting them away, as the children each got thier own toothbrushes, toothpaste and floss. We then opened the toy suitcase. They were so gracious and shared so beautifully. We were there all day and there was not one fight over a toy. Everyone shared and tried out each toy. The soccer balls that say 'inflate your dreams' was a hit. We all went outside and Kevin, Wayan and some of the older kids got in a circle and played games, while I and the younger children played a ball game of our own. We played until about 5 o'clock. We sat for about an hour on their front steps all gathered together as we asked them questions about their dreams, likes and dislikes. It was like a big family gathering. Everyone wanted to participate and just hang out on the porch.

Kevin and I's hearts were so touched by these children. Having two children of my own I learned more from those children than I thought I would take to them.
I knew I needed to teach my daughters greater respect for their elders and the value of love. It seems as if we are trying to soothe our children with toys or treats. We can never get enough. The children from Anak Anak orphanage were bright and happy with no individual toy of their own. They focused on their school work and looking out for one another.
I did not walk away thinking I felt bad for them. I thought how blessed they were. They were going to school, they knew how to greet and communicate with foreigners for hours, and they seemed to have a great sense of the value of life and love. Something that we all can strive for.

A great big thanks to:
Kevin Allen--for going with me and for making the trip better than ever
Tom Parks and Pat Legant
Kevin Carroll
Gayle Gale
Libby and Jeff Tom and their family
Oral B
Ladies in the Midway 3rd Ward
Sarah Allen-my daughter who donated so lovingly of her stuff
Dennis Allen-my sweet husband who supported me and helped organize
Dr. Erik Smith
Andy Miller and Family

I thank everyone for their kind donations and big hearts. I hope we can all help out in small ways to make a big difference