Saturday, July 2:
Well, yesterday was an extremely emotionally draining day. We woke up at about 9 am, had breakfast, and then some of us headed into town to get last minute items for the orphanage. Katie and I purchased 100 blankets, which cost about 400 American dollars. The blankets were huge and really soft, so it was an amazing purchase. We then came back to Annie’s and waited for Peter, and then headed to the orphanage at about noon. The ride was only about 40 minutes, which was a great change of pace from our normal drives.
As we pulled up, there were about 400 children and 20 guardians that were singing and dancing. As we got off the bus, they are greeted us and kept thanking us. The village then put on about a 2-hour long show for us that consisted of village dancing and drumming, skits, and then a presentation of gifts to Dr. Kelly, Dr. Liz and Dr. Talbot. A few of the guardians lined up with the presents and one by one they called up the professors. The professors would stand across from them, and the guardians would dance over to them and then place the present at their feet. It was very special and the professors were all beaming. Throughout the show, a few of us students had little kids come up to us and sit on our laps. This was, by far, the best part of the village. I had a gorgeous little girl, probably about 2 or 3, who sat on my lap for the whole 2 hours. It was so special, as when she first came to me she barely smiled and was very uptight. Throughout the show, she started hugging and cuddling up to me with the biggest smile on her face. It was amazing. I then handed her a beanie baby dog and she cherished that thing like it was the best gift she had ever received. She kept kissing it and putting it on my chest. With her on my lap, I barely paid attention to the performances, but she was the focus of my attention.
After the performances were all over, things took a turn for the worse. It was our time to hand out all of our gifts and donations, and riots literally broke out. The orphans all about 3 years and younger went into a room and we handed them their beanie babies and toys (I donated all my bubbles to them), and then the rest of us were outside handing out the underwear and toys we had purchased. The process was extremely unorganized, as we were handing things out trying to make sure every child got one thing. Katie and I were handing out the blankets with Willie and two of the workers, who had a list of 100 individuals who didn’t receive blankets last summer when we visited. Only about 3 people out of all 100 said thank you to Katie and I, which was really frustrating and overwhelming. Katie and I were both flooded with emotion, as people were grabbing and pushing and screaming. I finally had to leave and go back to the bus, because I couldn’t handle it anymore. I then saw my little girl crying, as someone had taken her beanie baby and we had none left. I had so many emotions, anger, sadness, anxiety, and overwhelming confusion. As I was sitting on the bus, one by one people started loading on, all of them crying more than the one before. Moments later, Katie came running onto the bus sobbing. While trying to hand out the clothes we had all brought to donate to the girls, a riot broke out and Katie was right in the middle of it. She said the teenage girls were hitting and slapping eachother, and pulling eachothers hair. Katie almost got trampled and said the girls had ripped the clothes from fighting for them and it was the most terrifying thing she had ever experienced. She was really shaken up and just completely stunned by their behavior.
On the bus road home, all was silent as we were all sitting with our emotions and thoughts. While I was initially just so angry and stunned by their behavior, I began putting myself in their shoes. If I was an orphan, and never got stylish clothes or cool toys, and a group came to visit me to donate things, I would probably act the same way out of fear that I wouldn’t get anything or they wouldn’t have enough things for everyone. I think that, just like them, my manners would go out the window and my fear of being skipped would override my ability to stay sane. Unfortunately, as these children grow up, they learn to fight for what they want; literally. They know that opportunities are limited, so they want to take control. It’s like they need to be taught how to receive things and be patient and trustworthy that sometimes there is actually enough for everyone. The entire trip today was nothing as to what we were all expecting with the chaos and un-organization, but as completely heart-breaking that it was, it was nonetheless a good experience. I will never forget that little girl on my lap, and her innocence and beauty. I wished that I could take her home with me and give her a bright, happy and healthy future, but for now my prayers and thoughts will always be with her. Peace, love, Malawi.
Last night as I mentioned before was the party that Peter threw for us at the Black Diamond. After the orphanage, none of us even wanted to go out and celebrate, but we all took naps and shared our thoughts with eachother and vented. We then all started getting ready, and Katie, Allison Bebe and I all pregamed in our room together. Let’s just say that one thing turned into another, and before we knew it we were on the bus heading to Black Diamond, Allison and I leading a sing-a-long in the front of the bus. We pulled up to Black Diamond about 20 minutes later, and most of us should have called it a night at that point haha. The famous Lucius Banda performed Bob Marley for us, and we danced the night away. We got home at about 1:30 am, in which Simeon had to carry a few of us girls to our beds. To say it was a successful night would be an understatement, and the stories and pictures this morning were absolutely hysterical. I absolutely love these girls here, and I can’t believe we’re going into the last week. Craziness. That’s all for today, peace, love, Malawi.