Christmas at the Olon Orphanage
OLON ORPHANAGE OUTING
It was a beautiful day to start out with. A group of expats and I all met at Hostal Aqui to help load the presents into the cars, vans, and trucks to take up to the Olon Orphanage and help make Christmas a little brighter for these special children. Unfortunately, Jodie could not make it since she caught a nasty cold and did not want to spread the germs to others.
So, after we finished loading the gifts, we left in caravan-style for the orphanage. When we arrived there, we helped unload the presents and placed them on a number of tables under a canopy. Some of the children were already seated under another canopy, waiting in anticipation. Others were greeting us with kisses and hugs. There was also another canopy under which were seats for the expats. Thank goodness for the canopies, because outside, that sun was hot!
The program started out with Isabelle, who runs the orphanage, introduce the children as a group to the expats, and explain what was about to take place. A group of 5 children came out, and did a dance with what looked like tambourines. Then there were more children dressed in costumes and reenacting the first Christmas with Mary, Joseph, the baby Jesus, shepherds, the 3 Wise Men, and an angel. Very well done!
Then came the time for the presents to be given out. Marcia, one of the group that came from Salinas, agreed to give out the presents since she is an Ecuadorean and knows Spanish better than the rest of us. She was excellent and very good with the children, as this was not an easy task because it took a while to make sure that all the children received a gift. She allowed them to say “thank you” and a few words after they received their presents. Some of these children had been abandoned and abused prior to their coming to the orphanage. I am sure they all had their individual stories of how they arrived at the orphanage, but I also know that they were all glad to be there and to be well-treated, fed and clothed. All of them were precious as they came up to Marcia to receive their gift and say ‘thank you’ and then run back to their seats to eagerly open their presents. Two of the little boys who both received toy trucks, were very happy pushing their trucks in between all the children coming up to receive their gifts. One of the young girls, about 9 or 10 years old, was so excited with her new T shirt that she took off her own shirt in public and put on the new tee shirt. They were all adorable! Many of the expats had cameras, so a lot of pictures were taken. I believe that the expats had as much fun watching the children opening their gifts as the children did finding out what gifts they got. When the gift giving was finished, some of the children offered the expats some beverages. Then it was time to say “goodbye” and the children hugged and kissed us in gratitude.
The expat community has integrated well into the local community and is providing worthwhile support to local organizations and this was one of the opportunities to promote social integration of the expat community. Hopefully 2013 will be an even better year for all !
When the Dalai Lama said that we were "a charitywhere deeds speak louder than words" doubtless he knew there are lots of ways to choose a particular charity (for example through which tosponsor a child). Some people choose charities based on the charity's presence giving opinions on the news, the charity's TV or newspaper adverts or the mail the charity sends. These people aren't wrong, but we are not that kind of charity; we build families not headlines. We get on with giving the least fortunate of children a chance of a proper family life. People find us and it is by our deeds that we think they should judge us.
Partly, our approach is needed dealing with orphans: orphans require longer term help and generally local government has at least legal responsibility for them. We have to co-operate, not condemn, and this method has allowed us to continue to do critical work in places like Zimbabwe where others have had to leave. There is no point being outspoken and thrown out when children depend on you being there. And of course the upside of not having a lot of "words" is that we do well when you compare charity costs. Most of our supporters come to us online or by word of mouth, and because donors tend to find us we do not have to pay a lot to find donors.
January 3, 1777 - During the American Revolution, General George Washington defeated the British at Princeton and drove them back toward New Brunswick. Washington then established winter quarters at Morristown, New Jersey. During the long harsh winter, Washington's army shrank to about a thousand men as enlistments expired and deserters fled.
January 3, 1924 - British Egyptologist Howard Carter found the sarcophagus of Tutankhamen in the Valley of the Kings near Luxor after several years of searching.
January 3, 1946 - An Englishman known during World War II as "Lord Haw Haw" (William Joyce) was hanged for treason in London. Joyce had broadcast Nazi propaganda via radio from Germany to Britain during the war.
January 3, 1959 - Alaska was admitted as the 49th U.S. state with a land mass almost one-fifth the size of the lower 48 states together.
January 3, 1961 - President Dwight D. Eisenhower broke off diplomatic relations with Cuba two years after Communist dictator Fidel Castro had seized power and just weeks before John F. Kennedy was inaugurated as the next president.
January 3, 1990 - Manuel Noriega, the deposed leader of Panama, surrendered to American authorities on charges of drug trafficking after spending 10 days hiding in the Vatican embassy following the U.S. invasion of Panama.
January 3, 1993 - President George Bush and Russian President Boris Yeltsin signed the Start-II (Strategic Arms Reduction Talks) Treaty, eliminating about two-thirds of each country's long range nuclear weapons.