I loved these kids so much. I was with the preschool kiddos everyday, along with my friends Amy and Shari. They were a huge help to me in keeping them all in one place and helping them listen to the teaching each day.
A lot of the kids that came knew each other, or were related, even. Some would come by van or bus that our team would pick up each day, some would be brought by parents, and some would come walking down the road everyday at three thirty.
One thing I noticed right away about these kids is that they are fiercely protective of one another. They are not mean, they don't fight or say cutting words, they don't tease or make fun of the ones who are a little different than them, and they help each other. For instance, one day while the kids were all there, a little boy fell off the swing. (They all LOVE to swing and would say constantly, "Will you push me?!") Several of them ran over to dust him off and check his head for a knot.
It was this little guy, Kushon.
He was such a little turkey! Cute as a button, but a strong willed little boy. None of these kids were heathens, like we have here in our city that we minister to at Street Reach each year, but they were kind and compassionate and very accepting of one another. It was refreshing seeing them in their environment.
Not only were they the nicest little things, they were happy. None of them came mad or sulking or were unappreciative. Some didn't listen that great (this little Kushon was one who didn't listen very well, and there were a couple who were in 2nd or 3rd grade that I'm thinking of), but they were still sweet.
This little angel, Erika, fell asleep in her crayons one day. She was exhausted! We let her take her nap while we played outside, and my friend's husband, Jeff, came in to sit with her while we took the others to the swing set.
Erika not only loved to nap, she loved to hide from us. One day we could not find her anywhere, and it took another kid telling us that she was behind the door before we found her.
Haven fell off the swings one day, and she broke her glasses. I felt so bad for her as she cried and cried. The glasses had already broken once before we had her at bible school, but when she fell off the swing, that really broke them again. We did find her lens, though, thankfully!
Todd and Jeff were in charge of recreation each day and did a phenomenal job. The kids loved the games that pointed back to the lesson we taught every day and Jeff would teach a little right at the end. I loved that the games were not just games~they went right along with what they were learning.
Another thing these kiddos loved to do was to color. Each day after they were finished with their craft, they would take my markers and make marker towers. They were so easily entertained and enthralled, because they don't have much. There was no sense of entitlement with these kiddos, even the little bitty ones, and they were super respectful to all of the adults.
They loved the piggy back rides our team would offer them, and they loved eating the dinner we would share with them each night. We ate with them every day that they were there, and they seemed to love the interaction and attention we showered on them.
They listened so intently each day, to the lesson I taught them. Kids here are NOT like that. I loved this little tidbit about them, that they would listen so well to what was being said. We even had a couple of three year old's thrown into our room, and even they (for the most part) listened.
The little one that Noah is pushing above, was Aiden. He was so precious! So young and little, but he talked and communicated really well and he loved to have draw pictures for him.
One thing that we had been told to expect was the way they would look at us. I guess in this culture, they don't smile or seem like they're enjoying themselves, and we were all told to not be discouraged by that, even the little ones were this way. But none of these kids were like that! They all seemed to enjoy themselves so much each day, they appeared to be listening, and they would smile back at us and laugh with us. That warmed my heart so much, because I often look at facial expressions of the ones I talk to. And even the adults were different than what we thought they would be like. The adults loved the craft time as much as the kids, and that was so surprising to all of us. And next year, we will be even more prepared with more intricate crafts, because they are smart.
Needless to say, this entire trip was so different than how I thought it would be. I was very pleasantly surprised, because I think I expected the worst. I was blown away by all the angels we had the privilege of teaching each day, and even as I write this, my heart thrills with how quickly I came to love them all. As they left us on Friday night, a lot of them told us that they loved us. I had tears as I watched them go.
It was such an awesome week. I'll keep saying that as long as I live. I can't wait to go back next year.
Love to all.