Our church, Sandy Lake Wesleyan, had an incredible event today for Global Orphan Sunday - The Orphan Experience and the Global Marketplace. For the Orphan Experience, several rooms were transformed into scenes that are common for orphans living in third world countries.
We first visited the bedroom. There was a cardboard mat on the floor, with some cushions, a sheet and a mosquito net hanging overhead. We talked about where we sleep compared to where orphans in Haiti sleep. We also learned about a 6 year old girl named Anastasia who lives in an orphanage in Russia and shares a room with 19 other girls. When she has a bad dream, she cries herself back to sleep because there is nobody to comfort her.
Next we visited the "bathroom" facilities. There was a large tub filled with cold water and we learned how orphan children often take a bath in cold water with many other children at once and have to share towels which end up being wet and dirty by the time several children get done with them. Laural and Micah got to bathe some little dolls in the cold water. Then we looked at the toilet which was a representation of a squat toilet - a hole in the ground. There isn't any toilet paper, just a cup and some water to clean with.
Next, we went to the Orphan Table where we had dinner much like orphans in Haiti would have. Many of us crowded around a makeshift table, sat on the floor and were served a small bowl of rice and beans. Most orphans only get one meal a day and it is usually rice and beans. Afterward, we had water in a little plastic baggie. Since bottles are rare, they might fill a bag with water and put a little hole in the bottom to suck the water out.
The next room we went to was a little glimpse into daily life in an orphanage in India. The children carried buckets of water like orphans have to. Orphans might use the water to wash clothes in a tub with a washboard. Laural and Micah got to try their hand at laundry this way. they thought it was pretty neat but I'm sure once the novelty of it wore off, they would understand it isn't all that much fun. Then they got to look at the toys on the shelf. Some orphanages have toys for the children but they often don't allow them to play with them because it might lead to fighting among the children.
The next room we saw taught us a little about foster children who live near us. We looked at bowls containing jelly beans and corn kernels to show us how many children are in foster care. They also planted some grass seeds in a cup to make a foster buddy to remind them about how foster families "foster" kids without a good family situation into healthy, growing children.
The last room we visited had piles of trash in it and we learned how many orphans have to dig through garbage to find something they can wear on their feet to give them some protection. Laural found some bags and rubber bands and put those over her feet. She didn't care for it too much.
At the Global Marketplace, we were able to purchase items made by artisans around the world. Many of these artisans are women rescued from trafficking, or people in impoverished areas of the world who deal with the reality of orphans every day. Proceeds benefit global missions projects. Laural chose a flowery headband and a doll made in Haiti.
Micah chose, what else, a scrunchie. It is some sort of silk, I think. I tried to get him to pick something else but he was starting to get tired and grumpy.
We also picked out a few pieces of candy. They both chose a couple items but I didn't see what they were until later. One of them picked up this:
Hot & salted tamarind pulp candy from Mexico. I knew as soon as I saw it that it wouldn't go over well. We all tried a little nibble. It was sour at first. Then the saltiness kicked in which was weird. Right after the saltiness, the chili powder became obvious. Yikes! It was too much for me and I had to spit it out. I think we will be avoiding hot & salted tamarind candy in the future... LOL
Micah picked out some cute Hello Kitty candy from Japan which turned out to be gum. It was much tastier.
For myself, I got something that caught my eye right away. There were lots of pretty things that would have been nice to have, like scarves, decorations, jewelry and hair accessories but I chose a lovely handmade Kenyan journal. I already put one of my little ink drawings into it.
Overall, it was an amazing experience and very enlightening. I hope it has opened the hearts of everyone who attended like it did for us. We will be praying for God's direction as we consider what our role will be in caring for orphans around the world. If you are inclined, I invite you to pray as well. God's blessings to you. ♥