The most beautiful song I had ever heard was sung today by a group of eighteen orphans, their voices sounded like angels softly singing, “there always be a sanctuary there for us”. Our hands were interlaced in a circle as they sang, their voices instantly penetrated to a deep place in my soul, in all of our souls. Some of us closed our eyes as the tears streamed down our faces. It was the most beautiful thing I had experienced in a long time. It is hard to call our tears, “tears of joy” because of the circumstances these youth had been in; being abandoned, left at the hospital at birth, begging on the streets for food, abuse of all unspeakable kinds. But the tears were a reflection of such a lovely interaction with the orphans throughout the day and their voices that sounded from another world.
We pulled our van through the large metal gates and met with Isaac under a beautiful shaded tree. He spoke about his concerns for the place and the orphans they have there. There are 18 total and range in age from a few months old to 17 years old, and currently there are three girls and the rest are boys. What I was taken back by was how lovely everyone was to each other, it felt like a large family as the older boys would have a baby in their arms or two toddlers would be holding hands.
Open Doors Orphanage is a sweet, small place on the outskirts of Kampala. Their small size is not because there are not any orphans living on the streets; there are more than they can count. Their small size is because their funds are sparse. They were being funded from a lot of people in the UK, as it was run by a lady from there, but when she left the funds dried up. Isaac, a social worker, who works well with the youth and is respected by his staff, is currently running it. His goal is to work with the children and help rehabilitate them to go back home (as long as it is not an abusive place for them). If they cannot go back home they are sometimes adopted although it takes about three years from start to a new family if they get a match. To date he has had 48 youth be able to return to home or a relative and are now attending school.
We started with a quick greeting and after a brief tour; we started talking photos with the kids. Terry had brought his printer and we made small posters of the photos with stickers. The stickers then turned into decorations all over them and I think we each left with a smiley face they had placed on our faces through out our time together. (Side note, as I am typing this I just went to itch my ear and found a purple smiley face there!)
Today was beautiful in so many ways. As Janet described it at dinner, “it was such an absolutely rich day.”
I will leave you with photos of the children. The last face I saw looking up to me when I was in the van is the sweet boy, with holes in his shirt, stickers on his arm and chin and love in his eyes.