Tuesday, September 2, 2014
The Orphanage and Day 26 of 100 faces in 100 days
While living in Africa we were near an American military installation where we attended school, and church and were able to eat in the Officer's club as well as use the post commissary and the px where we were able to buy clothing, shoes and things you might need for your home. We were not military but my father worked for them. So they gave us those privileges which I'm sure my parents were grateful for.
My mother had more free time to make friends here than in the US and she always got involved. I'm not sure how or why but she was always included in the Officer's Wives club functions. As an organization they decided one Christmas to help some children in the city we were living in. Now mind you all the things that I share about this are from the perspective of a nine or ten year old girl. So all of my facts are what I assume was going .. and in my mind that is the only reality I have of what was happening.
I can't say how or why I was asked by my mother to go with her but I had to put on a dress and my mother said I was going to help her. They were going to take Christmas gifts to the children in a nearby orphanage. I was happy to go and help my mother and just to be with her, I don't recall my brother or sister being there. We drove into a compound where there is a large building with many steps leading up to a room that looked like a standard school cafeteria. There were tables lined up and the ladies were busy bringing in boxes of wrapped gifts to give away. They brought cookies and fudge and candies and all the things you'd probably find on a Christmas dessert table along with a few decorations for the table. The ladies had obviously done some planning. How they determined what they would give the children, most likely had to do with the age and gender of the child. I was excited to see what the gifts were because I did not know what they were. All the children came into the hall. There seemed to be a hundred children of every age and you could see their shy approach and then the smiles and giggles as they approached the tables with all of the beautifully wrapped presents. I guess they managed to communicate which gifts went to which child. Then there was a flurry of unwrapping and paper being tossed aside by the younger children and carefully removed by the older ones to reveal the treasures inside. They were so excited to see what was there.. as was I. Watching all of this happening in front of me I could see that the older children all had pen and pencil sets and the younger children had bean bags. I thought bean bags? Why on earth would you give a child a bean bag? What could they possibly do with a bean bag? But after opening them they seemed to like the sound of the beans inside each handmade fabric bag. They were made of simple but pretty fabrics and they started to throw them in the air. They appeared to be overjoyed and I really could not believe that they would be so happy about something so plain and simple. As an adult I could say that perhaps they were asked to be grateful or that it meant something to them that I could not possibly understand. And truthfully I could not possibly understand what it could have been like to be living with hundreds of other children in a building without my parents. Regardless of the reason I was there and the children in that orphanage were there, I would take away something I have never forgotten. There is much joy in simple things, in kind gestures and being grateful even for a bean bag. I do remember how happy they seemed. There was no way that I could be there and watch this and be anything but happy too. I was happy they were happy. I left wanting to be with happy people. There was a skip in my step. I am grateful to have that picture in the album of my memories. It has been difficult at times for me to be happy or imagine being happy more than other emotions. Telling this story brings me back there, where joy from simple things can make my heart happy. I think it is right where I need to be today. To be brought back to happy.
It was in that spirit and part of why I did yesterday's portrait. So .. today .. i guess I was contemplative and now I am grateful.
Today's painting is poignantly painted on one of my mother's received Christmas cards and some wrapping paper from her stash. It's done in acrylic and is approximately 8x10. The price of today's painting is $26 so thank you for following along. Please come again and if you have a mind to have this painting on your wall email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. And I could always use the encouragement to keep going.. I appreciate any and all comments. Have a fantastic day. Ciao