Hey Aunt Paula!
Sorry I haven't blogged earlier. It's difficult to get onto the internet here! I have some awesome pictures and amazing stories to tell you!
We just got back from visiting the children's school. We walked into the court yard and its quiet and peaceful. My mom peaks her head into a class room and asks the teacher if she can come in. The teacher doesn't speak English so she didn't respond but all of the sudden all the kids in the class get up and run out the door towards us. I guess it was recess cause all the kids came out of their rooms and ran up to us. The children from the orphanage came over and were holding our hands while the others just stood there staring at us. The children of Wat Opot know much more English than the others because of the other volunteers that come to the orphanage and Wayne. Wayne, the founder of Wat Opot, only speaks English so the kids are forced to practice their English to communicate with him. They love to practice their English! The other people in the villages surrounding Wat Opot don't really know how to speak English or haven't seen too many Americans so they just stare or scream "HELLO" about 10 times.
The other night we handed out underwear for the kids. We gave them each one pair. They all lined up from tallest to shortest and came into the office to pick out one pair. They were all so excited. Aunt Deb picked out some nemo and toy story and they just loved it. I've never seen kids more excited and appreciative about anything... especially underwear! They put them right on and I'm not sure if they've taken them off since.
The kids are just amazing. The older kids head off to school which leaves the 4 little ones with us until around 11 when everyone comes back. Even when we aren't entertaining the children, they find games and activities to do for hours with each other. When the older kids were just coming back from school we gave some of the children shirts to try on to take some pictures with. They of course LOVED the shirts and the camera. Some of the boys grabbed the shirts and tried even the pink ones on. They love anything new! We had to take the shirts back because every kid wanted one and we didn't have enough to go around. We plan on putting them into the girls room before we leave. This afternoon we are going to the market to pick out some matresses for the kids. We also want to pick out some desks and a wardrobe for each of the rooms! They don't know yet and I can't wait to see the look on their faces when we give them their presents!
Each child has such great personalities. Although we can't always communicate with them because of the language barrier, their personalities show through and are always happy despite all the hardships they've been through. Each child has a heartbreaking story that Wayne typically shares with us durring the meals. The Wat Opot website further shares some stories of the children here. Although they have been through things I can't even imagine going through, they are still some of the happiest children. They get a long incredibly well (so it seems to us since we can't understand what they're saying to each other). They look out for one another. It really is like one big family here at Wat Opot.
Katie, Andrea, and Deb
Interested in volunteering or contributing -- read about the orphanage at www.watopot.org
ps. I attached some pictures in the following e-mail. I hope they all go through!