** well, almost the youngest 🙂 **
One of the biggest and most affecting parts of this trip, for me, was the children. The kids at the school, as well as the ones who just lived nearby, were always quite excited to see us when we would arrive. Even from the very first day, as I was still a bit overwhelmed with trying to take in everything, the first thing I was greeted by was half a dozen little pairs of hands rubbing my arms and petting my hair. They were always energetic, ready to try out their English with enthusiastic ‘How are you?’s. A fair amount of my time at the school was spent simply playing with them – running around, playing tag, learning clapping games, or just having my hair braided and re-braided by the girls. I never considered myself too much of a ‘kid person’; but I can honestly say that spending time with these kids was one of the best parts of my trip. It struck me how upbeat they were and what high spirits they had, despite their less than desirable situations. One day, after spending an afternoon playing with a little girl, I had someone mention in passing that she was an orphan, with no family members and no home to go back to. It shocked me, and I couldn’t imagine that such a bubbly and cheerful girl could have gone through such awful misfortune. Many of them have gone through more terrible things or poorer situations than most of us ever have, and yet I never once heard them complain about it or even let it affect their attitudes. They even have a sort of camaraderie, helping each other up when one falls and the older ones comforting the babies when they cry. Watching them and interacting with them was really moving to me, and a real blessing, and I think there is a lot we could learn from even these young children.