"I get up every morning determined to both change the world and have one hell of a good time. Sometimes this makes planning my day difficult." E. B. White

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Special Surprise for Sarita's Safe Haven

What an amazing surprise for the orphanage today! Remember the package that was being held hostage at the post office? I got it!

The amazing box of books and other gifts for the kids
My thoughtful and wonderful sister Leah put together a huge box of treats for the orphans and the monks. The box was full of dozens of books of construction paper (because the orphans love it and we only had two books of paper for everyone to share), several reading books, coloring books, and puzzles.

My longtime family friend, Susan, contributed several books and other goodies, and my aunt, Farah (pronounced like Fawcett, not like my name), generously paid the very costly shipping to send such a big box all the way to Nepal.  

Thank you to all three of them for making today very special for the kids at Sarita’s Safe Haven.

This afternoon Anna and I took all of the construction paper (more than 20 packs) and eight of the books to the orphanage. The kids were absolutely beside themselves. There was enough for every kid to have their own book of construction paper, so we wrote each name on a pack and handed them out.

So excited about their new paper!

The kids seriously could not believe that we were giving them their own paper. It was like Christmas. Seeing how something so little was such a big deal to them reminded me how much I take little things for granted. I’m sure several people reading this can relate.

When we handed each child their book of construction paper, several pulled out one or two pages and then tried to hand back the rest, not understanding that they got to keep the entire thing.

Bibek, the older of the two brothers that I love, asked me three times if he really got to keep it and was so excited to learn that his pack was only for him. He was then convinced that this was my last day at the orphanage and that we were using the paper as a parting gift. He really couldn't wrap his mind around the fact that it was all for him.

As a sad side note, Anna explained to Bibek that today is not our last day, but Friday will be. He counted and discovered that we only have three days left. When I re-entered the room, Bibek asked me if it was true that I would only stay for three more days. When I confirmed it and told I was very sad, his eyes watered and he pleaded, “No! Please don’t leave. Please stay here!” It broke my heart. Hours later, I still feel broken thinking about it.

Bibek drew a Mr. Potato Head for Leah because
he is the character on the cover of the construction paper
Anyway, back to the story. Another kid, Dipak, who is very smart and is one of the few who doesn't yet go to school, told Anna and I that he was going to "keep his paper safe" and wait to use it so he could take it to school with him. He is so excited that he gets to go to school next year (thanks to Anna’s sponsorship) and carried his paper around tightly held to his chest all afternoon.  It was clear that his pack of colored paper is now his prized possession.

I explained to all of the children that my sister and friends in America sent them presents. I told them the paper arrived in a big box because Leah loves each of them very much.

Do you know what little Bibek and Rajip did? The two of them drew pictures and wrote "thank you" on the back. It was adorable. I didn't even know what they were up to until they handed me the finished products and said, "For sister in America for thank you." Of course, I saved the two drawings and will carry them home to Leah, as promised.

After coloring time was over, I told the kids that I would read them one of the books. Anna and I ended up reading all eight! All of the kids gathered around and sat quietly, amazed by the pictures and whispering about which character they would be in each book. The books were about teddy bears and bugs and nature walks and Disney princesses, and even the little boys were incredibly excited about the princess books.

Reading the first book, about bugs and crocodiles, to a very interested audience

Anna reading about a boy and his best friend, a stuffed bear

Paying close attention
Another one?! Okay. 

Reading the princess book to the boys

Tomorrow we’ll be taking the remaining books to the little monks, as they also love to read and hear stories. We’ll take the puzzles and coloring books to the orphanage on our last day, a day that is approaching far too quickly.

I want to say thank you one more time to Leah, Susan, and Farah for the thought, time, and money they put into this very special surprise! It really meant the world to these kids.

Thank you Leah!!

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