Yesterday was the first day of school for the kids! Honestly, I was quite surprised when school started on the actual day that it was supposed to start. I was not, however, as surprised when we received a call at 10:00 yesterday morning that all of the kids were out of school about 3.5 hours early. One of our employees, Lener, was driving by the school and called us to tell us that he saw all of our kids outside of the school playing. He asked us if we wanted him to pick them up and bring them home, so we said yes. When the kids got home we asked them why they got out so early today and they actually told us that, “that is what happens every year.” So out of all of the people we spoke with, including the administrator of the school, numerous parents of kids who go to the school, and even our own kids…Nobody told us that school would get out 3.5 hours early on the first day. Not only that, but the kids will not get food at school for at least a few days (something that we count on each day) so we had to scramble to try and figure out something for them to eat when they got home.
However, the biggest thing that happened is that school did actually start, and it seemed like every school in the area (except for the other school our kids are going to) started on time. This is a huge step forward here. As we mentioned before, schools have not been so organized over the past few years and this is the first time that we noticed schools and families being ready to start on the stated “first day.” To me, that shows a step forward in the education system here.
Specifically for our kids, they were so excited. In fact, our oldest boy Herbison was more excited than I have seen him in a long time. The night before school we were all sitting around and, out of nowhere, many of the boys began to talk about their life at the old orphanage. Very little that they said was good, and most of it involved negative things that came about with no adults supervising them. After hearing all of them speak, I began to look around at our older kids and how much they struggle at school, and it is no wonder. They were able to do pretty much whatever they wanted, go wherever they wanted, and go to bed at any hour of any night. How could they do well in school…How could they do well at anything? It broke my heart to hear them talk about what they went through, but at the end, there was a common theme that was so encouraging I just wanted to share it with all of the supporters of All Things New. The kids said:
“But now we are here”
That does not mean much without you being there in the house with the boys while they were talking, but if you were there you would have seen something much deeper. You would have seen children about to go to bed in a safe, comfortable house; in a nice bed with a fan blowing on them; and with the knowledge that they would wake up the next day to a shower and a nice quiet environment to eat breakfast and go to their first day of school. They understood they are loved and cared for and that they have people in their lives now who will do whatever they can to help them succeed. When I thought about writing the “First Day of School” post, I did not think that this is where it would go, but if you could have just been there that night. There was this feeling of “I used to be there but now I am here” that just seemed to strike all of the kids on this important night for all children everywhere. The night before the first day of school there is always that feeling of fear, mixed with excitement, mixed with hope and possibilities, and with a dash of uncertainty that every child feels. For the first time, maybe in their lives, our kids had the chance to feel that. They were not worried about what might happen to them that night or where their next meal would come from. They had the freedom to only worry about school and to contemplate on what GOD had done for them by bringing them to this place.
With that said, I want to make everyone aware of the next blog series we will be putting out soon. We are going to write a blog for each child who lives at our orphanage right now. We will talk about how they arrived with us, what family they have still alive, what they like and don’t like, we will describe their personality, and just talk about them so that you can meet each of our kids kind of personally. We really want you to get to the kids that we love, and now that we have had a chance to get to really know them away from the environment that they used to be in, we have a lot to share. Stay tuned…