|By Sushilove51 | Photo by T. Donsho |
“Love your neighbor”
Prof. Jen taught me most of my first two years in college. Going to a U.S. College overseas there’s not much choice. The base tends to hire teachers with a million degrees and able to teach multiple subjects.
This wasn’t a problem for me. I liked Jen’s style. She was a smiley free-spirit who brought M & M’s to class. What’s not to like? Since we had to spend three hours a day, for two days a week. We could only hope for a little bit of fun.
There were rumors that some Professors were so boring students would fail just to end the misery. These stories made me feel lucky to have Jen. Not only was she easy to get along with but was also professional. Yes, at times the lectures went off course. They were fruitful nonetheless.
She spoke of her dreams, her travels, and her dance school. And in the end the whole class got A’s.
It was good to hear from a woman who dreamed big and got to see them come to life. It’s nice to know someone who was rewarded well due to the level of risk taken. Overall she sent a good vibe that flowed throughout our class room.
We had a lot of breaks that were used perfectly like a good coach uses a time out for there team to re-group. Maybe we showed a face that showed it was time. This allowed students to get into some good conversation with each other. We mostly talked about upcoming events.
There was a musician who was planning on making a music video. He was always looking for someone who wanted to be a part of the them.
“Hey dude, you should show up. We all hang out, then get sushi afterwards”
“I don’t know, I appreciate the invite but I got some things to do”.
I would be tempted to go but wouldn’t be 100% sure about the decision. After all I’ve partied for a majority of my life. I figured it was time to head to another direction.
One guy did get my attention and showed me the way when he mentioned the annual event his squadron throws. A party at a near by orphanage. They serve American Style BBQ, brings gifts, talk and play with the children. Something in me lit up when I heard about it all. I wanted to be a part of it.
An Orphan must carry a heavy burden with them. These are children who have been abandoned or separated from their relatives somehow to live in a strange home with other kids. I guess I felt it was time. I didn’t have too much. But, what I did have I wanted to give.
That weekend I took the invite and brought some friends who I thought would be interested in tagging along. Friends with the right priorities. In the military some people do things like visiting orphanages with selfish motives. They do it for the bullets (highlights of experience) that military members type on these performance reports in hopes to further their career. I wanted to go with those whose motives were pure and had a genuine emotion to care. Other wise the trip would of felt tainted.
I remember the moment I walked in those doors holding bags of food and soda. The kids greeted us with loud pitches of excitement. Big Smiles. Happy that we’d come to visit. They’d stare at us with a look that revealed there gratitude. Maybe we symbolized hope to them. Hope that since foreigners came to give presents and spend time with them that one day this would happen permanently one day.
The kid’s ages ranged from 4-18. The majority of them being younger. Only a few were actually 13 and up. I remember a little 5 year who ran up to me as soon as my arms let go the bags of food I carried. He wanted to be picked up. This only was after 20 minutes of walking in. I gave him a high five. But, my heart turned into mash potatoes when I saw how bad he wanted to be held. He desired affection. Just for a moment. He wanted to feel loved. I didn’t want to fail him. So I carried him and told the caretakers he was very playful kid. They remarked that he’s always been this way.
This made me wonder where his parents were and why he was here. If this was my son I don’t know if I could go a day without giving or receiving that affection. It’s energizing to see someone on earth who just wants your affection and in return you give it the same. No cost. I don’t think he even budged when the food was being served. He just wanted to play games with the foreigners. A similar pattern with the other children as well.
The girls were getting their hair braided by the women. And the other men were playing catch with the little guys. Reading stories to them. Teaching them dance moves. Enjoying each other’s company.
Later, I find out these kids have survived some tragedies. Abusive homes, homes with low income that couldn’t maintain. Homes that weren’t happy. Homes that weren’t healthy. Life isn’t fair. I only hope that one day these children see glory.