My journey has came to an end, I can’t believe 4 weeks ago I was just arriving to Sri Lanka.
First things first, I finished my fourth week at the children’s orphanage, and have completely poured my heart out to as many of the children as possible. I have never felt a feeling like I did at the orphanage. These children truly warmed my heart. I divided my days at the orphanage with the babies in the morning, and the toddlers for a short while in the afternoon. I’ve shed many tears, for I pray that each and every one of them will receive a family to be loved unconditionally.
The feeling of entering a Children’s Home all 80+ eyes glazing on you, the feeling is indescribable. I have never encountered the feeling of “love” in such a way. I woke up each morning in a rush to get to the orphanage. I loved entering the home with screams of “Sister, Sister,” the babies smiling from ear to ear with arms dangling in the air to be the first to be held, being tugged on, hung on, and swung on. I could see in the children’s eyes this twinkle of happiness that someone was here to hold, play, and love on each of them!
Leaving was difficult, harder then I could ever imagined. I cried as I held the youngest ones, praying 6 families, just 6 would take these tiny toots home and love, as each one deserves. I told each of the 6 (5 girls, 1 boy) how special they were, how pretty or handsome, I reminded them I would love them forever. Yet my words mean nothing, I could feel each ones tiny hand latch on tightly as a tear trickled down my face. I had been there for ones first step, taught two to clap, one to army crawl, and my favorite....one to blow kisses.
Astonishing feeling, being the first to witness such big steps, I felt like for 2 weeks I was the mommy to 6 babies, and I couldn’t have asked for a better task.
I made a poster, a collection of all my favorite snaps of the babies over the 2 week period to give to the nursery. I thought, “If I were a orphan, I’d like to see pictures of myself when I grew old”, So I did just that. Turned out beautiful, all the staff was in awe!
For the Toddlers~ Before I left, I sat on the ground, eye-level, and hugged all 24 of them at once, tickling, laughing, and loving one last time. Their caregivers told them what was going on(how it was my last day to play), the smiles turned into frowns, unsure how to express their sadness, we all just remained hugging. I left by high fiving each one, the American “happy” way to leave toddlers I suppose!
I was teary-eyed, headed to the van to head back to the house, then I was stopped by the oldest orphan at the home, age 17, she handed me a bracelet, a letter, and a firm hug, she paused, stepped back and said “Sister, the Children’s Home will never forget you, I hope you don’t forget us, I wrote you a letter, and would love to hear back.” I smiled, crocodile tears filled my eyes, and I told her “You each have a special place in my heart, I’d love to be your pen pal, and make sure where ever life takes you, you reach for the stars, for you are one special girl.” She nodded and smiled, she hit my soft spot, she ended my time at the orphanage in such a remarkable way. She’s enlightened me fully.
As I make my way back to the States, I recap of my time in Sri Lanka. I did it!!! We did it!!! Jen and I could agree that we have reached an understanding to life that has greatly benefited us. We have encountered some of the most eye-opening moments thus far in our 20 years of life, we have touched individuals in a way that brings only the biggest smile to our face, and most importantly…. We feel accomplished, more than satisfied. We left Sri Lanka in a positive manner. Friends were made, relationships were built, love was shared, and it all happened with a smile and from the goodness of our hearts. I could not have asked for a more surreal 3rd world experience!
Venturing back was dreaded, the sound of China and long lay overs didn’t sound to appealing. But. This time it seemed different. Reaching America, home sweet home, was enough of a reward to complain. Despite the awful food, traveling home was all right. The first non-rice, curry, or noodle meal with the fam was grater than taste-buds can describe. I couldn’t be happier after my hot shower, and to be in my mommas arms, telling her of my adventures, and starting to stir up my thoughts for my next voyage.
The Sri Lanka Excursion has ended. I’m so very blessed for a safe and sound time in Lanka land, as well as a safe return to the home land.
~till next time~