Saturday, January 07, 2006

the children....









So today I made it down to the Pattaya orphanage- a dream come true....I had read about this orphanage many months ago and knew that it was a place I needed to go visit. I ended up riding down in a car with one of the major funders of this orphanage (Thomas Vincent- who is also from Hawaii ! for more info on his foundation, check out:TJVincentfoundations.org) as well as my friend Helen, who was on her way down to Rayong to a children with AIDS event. It was a special ride indeed.

I had never been to an orphanage before and really had no idea what to expect. I knew I would be moved by the beauty of the children and indeed that was the case. From the moment I first walked on to one of the playgrounds with a bag of candy in hand, I was hooked. There I was with a dozen or so 3-4 year olds running around me, smiling and politely holding out their hands for a candy.Some even put their hands up in prayer position and thanked me...we laughed, wrestled, ran around a bit and then it was time for lunch for them...

It was a happy place, there is no doubt about it. These children are so loved. And they are so blessed to have so many people taking such good care of them. The founding priest (Father Raymond Brennan) just passed last year and tributes to him were everywhere- he was quite a man and very well known in Thailand for all the work that he did with this orphanage. Many children here go on to graduate from high school and several have higher degrees in education as well..One of the most touching moments for me was meeting a man named Luke , who grew up in the orphanage and is now one of the managers of the orphanage, 35 years after first being brought to the home....he just had his second child born last month, on Dec. 7th, the birthday of Father Raymond Brennan.

After playing on the playground and getting a grand tour of the property, I was brought to the"baby room", a wonderful series of rooms where newborns were either lying in cribs or playing all over the floor...what a site....I didnt know who to play with first !...they were all so incredibly beautiful...

I ended up holding and playing with a very sweet little 1 year old boy (see pic) and when his eyes locked onto mine, he just let out the most amazingly beautiful smile- as if we had known each other for years- a very powerful moment indeed..... In that instant, I began to truly understand the feeling a parent must have holding a child of their own- no words can truly describe the love that I suddenly felt for this child and for the sudden appreciation I now have for parents everywhere.

I know I will be back here to spend the day again..I am also now encouraged to continue visiting orphanages as I travel throughout this coutnry ....a hug and smile truly go so far...for everyone involved.

Enjoy these beautiful faces......

1 comment:

Maria said...

melina, i began reading this post and started crying non stop... it's so beautiful what you are doing... i wish i was there with you!