Today was ....... A day of beauty and yet one of the hardest days so far, emotionally. We began the day like most days and headed to work, but the difference was today we got to meet the children. Car loads came in and i believe one car load had something like 23 people in it, and it was all children and supporting parents who came to help with the kitchen. I feel like it was a real moment for all of us as we stopped really working and started playing with the kids and now we were able to put faces to why and what we were trying to accomplish. The kids were such an inspiration as they have very, very little and yet a smile and laughter accompanied all, but they were some of the biggest and brightest smiles and all the laughs were pure joy. Its hard comparing where we live to where they live because the worlds are so different, but in these kids it was easy to realize how privilege can also lead to being spoiled.
After having lunch and smiles and laughs the group, JP, MIkey, Chad, Seth, Lisa, and Emanuelle with Michele and Karambu met up with Ripple international and explored their world a bit. Our first stop was the construction site of a hospital that they were building, and after all our hard work on a small kitchen we were shocked to see the size of the hospital, wow. It was not yet finished but was something the community needed. Our next stop, the infant orphanage, and my oh my, what an experience. Once again, the kids who have nothing but the minute we walked in the room and showed we wanted to play, excitement broke out, smiles and laughs were abundant. As cute and fun as the kids were, the emotions were strong as we were reminded that these children had no more family, due to AIDS. ANd some of them were found in dumpsters or just abandoned by someone who felt they could not care for them. It was especially unique as we saw the expressions on Chad and Seth's faces, as both of them are fathers of infant children, so the connection for them was strong and deep.
We finished the day at the Ripples office as they explained what there mission and future plans were. We realized how our thoughts differ greatly from theirs as, for example, in their educating of AIDS, the teach abstinence and do not educate about condoms and safe sex.
As we pulled away from ripples and the images of the day passed through my mind, and all the problems these people face not only with AIDS, but also with starvation, lack of education, child rape, male dominance, I started to freak out a bit. I just didn't know if I could handle anymore because even though there was such beauty in the connection with the children, I knew the underlaying problems were huge. I got completely overwhelmed as the idea of trying to help seemed like it was getting so big that it was slipping out of grasp.