Good morning kids! Day 1 at Mama Lumka’s

Things that I find different from my experience in Brazil:

1. We get transported to the orphanage in a private van.

It feels odd not to catch public transport. I miss the ‘me’ time we used to have while sitting in the bus in Salvador on the way to Mata Escura and our ritual of eating brekkie at the small bakery near the creche. I still remember the jam doughnuts filled with guava jam and a cup of guava juice we would always have.

2. I have yet to get used to the fact that it’s an orphanage, not a proper school.

I guess this is why the children themselves struggle to concentrate – they can’t seem to understand what we’re doing there and it feels like constant playtime for them (I’m not saying that playing is a bad thing).

In Brazil, the children would come in to the Educentre/creche in their uniforms and be prepared for class. I really enjoyed that…to see the eagerness to learn on their face. I really do miss them a lot.

3. Teaching the children in English…is not a big enough challenge for me I feel.

In Brazil, we had to teach them in Portuguese and I loved the challenge. I was so proud of myself as to how much I learnt over there, especially from my fellow volunteers.

4. The people/carers at the orphanage….are nothing in comparison to the way it was in Brazil.

In Mata Escura, Tia Sonia would cook us all that yummy delicious Bahian lunch everyday. Meanwhile, over here the children are loaded with carbs and syrup. They are given so much of bread and sweet drinks, that I feel someone should educate the cooks about giving a proper healthy meal for the children. It really bothers me. And it really makes me admire Emma (the project coordinator in Brazil) even more. She did so much for the children and was really hands-on. I would love to go back to Brazil and volunteer with the children again.

Before I continue waffling about how Brazil was much better, I think I should just focus on this orphanage in South Africa instead. Why wallow in the past when I have the present to take care of.

As I sit here on the steps of my apartment building, gazing at the cloudy sky and admiring the contrasting colours of the leafy green tree in front of me against the dark clouds bringing rain, I still can’t believe how beautiful this country is. I am indeed very lucky to be here…to be alive…to be able to give.

The children at the orphanage are so bright. I am teaching Grade R (ranging between 5-11 years) for the 2 weeks that I am here and I’m amazed at how much the children know. I can only feel abundance of love towards them.

I don’t know much about the background of these children but just looking at their smiling faces, you would be in awe at how happy they are in spite of all the hardships they have gone through. The human spirit is a remarkable thing, don’t you think?

Remembering from what I was told – the children here are brought in by the Social Services (sort of the same system that Australia has, except in South Africa the children are sent to orphanages). So a child might have been orphaned as his/her parent had died due to HIV, or due to family disturbances whereby the parent(s) is seen as unfit to care for the child.

It’s nearly 8.30am here and I have to rush to get my materials ready for class. Sorry for ending today’s entry rather abruptly but it’s a new day here in Gordon’s Bay and the orphanage is calling šŸ™‚

Until then…. ‘click!’ from South Africa

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