Africa, Day 7: (One whole week in Africa! Wow!!) Cute orphans, talented women, and ex-Marines from the States!

Today we started at the leisurely hour of 9am… after two days of 6:30 ‘calls,’ as Johnny keeps putting it, 9 am felt like sleeping in! And all you Lion King people KNOW that 9am is NOT sleeping in for me!
We went out to one of YAI’s (Youth Action International, Kimmie Week’s Charity that Greener Diamond works with) orphanages and met with the kids, and let me tell you, it took every ounce of will not to come home with a beautiful little orphan!! These kids were SO sweet, polite, and wonderful, they all deserve so much more!
When we drove up, they ran beside the car and shook our hands, and as we pulled up to the buildings, they were singing a welcoming song to their ‘brothers and sisters,’ (us, I’m assuming) replete with percussion instruments (that I’ve seen Stephan and Rue play in our show!) and drums!! It was so sweet!
We went on a tour of the facilities and saw their livestock (pigs, rabbits, chickens, and a few guinea fowl!) and their rice field, which was great to see how self-contained and sustaining they were. They even made their own charcoal to sell to people in the city!
Johnny gave out his last soccer ball, which they loved, of course, and Anna gave out school supplies and bubbles, which was really fun to play with for them, and us!
They sang us another song, which was really sweet, and some of the kids danced, which I especially loved seeing! There was one girl who really attached herself to me. When you get out of the car the kids rush to hold your hands, so Anna and Johnny had about 5 or 6 kids hanging off them each! I was busy running around snapping pictures, so whoever could keep up with me were ‘my’ kids. My one girl was named Jenni and her little sister, followed me around all afternoon.
The girls asked for my email (!) to keep in touch with me, which was so surprising considering the conditions of this orphanage. There is one central house where the kids all bunk together, one tiny closet for their clothes and shoes (which was empty when we were there, so I think they only had one or two outfits) and a farm and livestock area surrounding the land-  and yet somehow she still has access to a laptop?!? Amazing!
It was so much fun to hang with these beautiful, happy, sweet kids. Even when we were handing out the candy they were so well-mannered and polite! Usually we just get bum-rushed by every kid on the block, but these kids would patiently wait their turn for their lollipop.
We reluctantly had to leave to see another YAI project- we were just starting to play with the little LITTLE ones, the infants who were a bit wary of us when we arrived. We all carried the littlest one, Janet, about for a bit. She was SO cute with the chubbiest cheeks ever!
The next stop was the Women’s Empowerment Center run by Kimmie and YAI. This is a center where women can come for trade skills training, like beading, cosmetology, tailoring, and catering, to name a few. The crafts they create are beautiful- we saw some amazing tie-dye and hand-crafted dresses, bead jewelry and crafts, and even had some yummy heart-shaped cookies that the culinary class made just for us! The women were so sweet and gracious to let us come and see their work!
We had dinner at the hotel, and Anna and I met some American ex-Marines working on the construction of the new US Embassy down the street. I must say, after spending 90% of my time interacting with Liberians for two weeks, it was very interesting to talk to American people again. I mean, Johnny and Anna are American, but really, Anna is Australian and Johnny is well…. Johnny. (Talking to him is like interacting with an older brother. We don’t really get much done, but we have a lot of fun doing nothing anyway.)
So having a beer with these guys was fun and kind of reverse-culture shock, in a way. I am so used to the Liberian accent that I can fully understand our local film crew now, but had to as the American guys to repeat themselves a couple times! haha, so weird!
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One Response to “Africa, Day 7: (One whole week in Africa! Wow!!) Cute orphans, talented women, and ex-Marines from the States!”

  1. Lori Stewart Says:

    Great story. I have always wanted to work in Africa one day and I know I will when the time is right. I too will want to adopt a child. I’ve always wanted to …. since my teens I knew I would do this one day and I am now in my 40’s …. I know it will happen when the time is right.

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