Nana, Jeff, Emma, Princess, Christopher and the guys at the New Life Orphanage will for a long time, place us in their better graces – I think! We may not have revived their dashed dreams, lofty hopes and blighted aspirations last Saturday, but we left the orphanage knowing these children; less fortunate, lived again.
Being disappointed, let down, or betrayed are among their most frustrating, maddening moments – at this stage of their young lives, but beyond the blur, they see hope. At least that’s what they ask…
Just as a travelling songwriter always has something to say and a means to say it, these kids – some five, six, seven or eight and others above ten, have their way of expressing genuine excitement. One to behold.
It was sobering for most parts. I felt an occasional swam of goose bumps, as I watched the kids skitter, while Sena, Valentino and Ehornam arranged the food, drinks and goodies.
Handlers at the orphanage must have some really good soft skills, I pondered – some of the kids could be all that. They must have legendary proportions of them – compassion and empathy especially for these ones below six!
As I sauntered about the premises, I looked round and everyone was happy to see us, so it appeared… it was party time! Snap!
It began to play out in my mind, as if in a trance. We sit in lofty obscurity, lording it over our fellow beings like they were second-rated. We ride our high horses and parade ourselves as emperors on airs of eggs. Arrogance, to put it quite mildly.
Too much freedom on our hands to do all sorts – the good, the bad and sometimes worse than those. The reality however, is that many of us live lives these glowing kids will never have a sniff at. But, even in ‘squalor’, these kids at the New Life Orphanage appear gracious.
Their smiles as broad as the sunshine lit our hearts. Behind the smiles however, these kids are probably the most hard-bitten of individuals – little too young to show their dark emotions.
Voilà! That’s Princess, she clung to Lily’s long white tee she wore over a fitting pair of jeans, pulled on her handbag which hang loosely atop her feminine shoulders, and began playing with her pair of glasses, her cap and her wriggly hair. Carr…Carr…Carr, she murmured. She wanted a car! She was meek… Lily had found a new friend!
As the table and sitting area were being prepared and the décor guys were fitting the ribbons, I set up my camera, ready to capture the moments.
‘Hard by’ the main perimeter that housed the kids, construction was underway – a new storey block was being made; this place was razed by fire months ago.
Often times, it has been said that it is the individual who is not interested in his fellow men, who has the greatest difficulties in life. For many reasons, Sena and the girls who thought of doing this for the kids will not have any such.
Of course, Diane, Awal, Cliff, Kwaku, Osei, Bene, Yaa, Lily and the lads demonstrated genuine concern and interest in these kids. It was awesome.
Beyond the food, drinks and other accessories, these kids want to smile. They want to feel a certain sense of belonging.
Hmmm… aside food, drinks and other donations – many times, managers of these orphanages call for assistance from members of the public, to keep the facilities running. Somehow, we fail to lend a hand.
The isolated cases (or maybe not), of office abuse and diversion of items meant for the upkeep of these vulnerable children, by managers and owners of these facilities, thanks to the famed Anas Aremeyaw Anas, were exposed some time
Does it mean we should stop lending a hand if we genuinely can?
If you’ve stopped travelling on planes because you’ve heard about plane crashes, If you’ve been walking to and from work because commercial buses get accidents, if you’ve starved eternally after having one bad food day – you may be justified for not lending a hand to these orphanages – but, to what end?
Point here – it is a given that some unscrupulous people are always looking to fleece the next person, bad deal if the next people and places they target are these orphanages and homes…raises a begging question of what’s wrong with the world, our world?
Like the memorable example of the prolific British writer, G.K Chesterton’s response to an invitation by Time to write an essay on the subject ‘what’s wrong with the world?’
Sincerely – G.K Chesterton
Yes – I agree. I am the problem with the world and so are you, I bet!
The moment we got full and threw away the rest of our food. The moment we thought only about ‘us’. The times we wasted money at clubs and parties – and bought new clothes every other day. The moments we prayed for ‘us’ and ‘us’ only – that’s when we became a problem to the world!!
The mere thoughts about the welfare of others and a genuine concern for them, portend life-changing impacts in the lives of these persons, we never know the far-reaching consequences these little things hold.
‘Everyone is entitled to be valued for their best moments’, think about it. Imagine what a difference we would make if we began focusing on the best moments of these children and reaffirm them.
Our faults may hinder us – everyone has them. The kids do too. We may be broken people with many years of waste in our wake – yes! Nonetheless, think we can gather the scraps of life left, to reaffirm the best moments of these orphans…they need it.
It was obvious. They numbered about eighty (not precise). They chattered away while they had their lip-smacking food; some banku, others ‘Ghana jollof’. Emma and about three of his friends kept their package under the table, they were saving it for later.
On the other side, Jeff and one other girl – about ten, attracted my focus. They wore the kind of shy smile, a virgin being called for a dance would wear . They instinctively hid their grin in their palms once they saw the camera lens aimed at them.
Diane will later play both kids into flirting in front of the camera, while they planted tiny morsels of banku down their throats – I got my snap! They were not camera-shy after all.
Emma and his clique were loving the snaps – every opportunity on the camera, they cherished and demanded they saw the outcome of the snaps.
‘Oh – Oh take me another one. This one my face is not nice’, Emma leads the charge to clamour for more photos…!
Talk of modelling – I could swear I had never seen children this young, display such mastery of the art of runway catwalk. You should see the visuals…mind-blowing..
There were those who could sing so well, there were the dancers too. The poets. Through it all, a day well spent and very fulfilling. They would not forget this day in a hurry, neither would I.
At the set of the sun, the guys began packing up, but the kids looked forlorn figures – possibly thinking when next, a day like this would be relived… ‘Give us hope’…Joe’s Tee told it all…
Leaving the orphanage that evening – I soliloquized. What if circumstances that brought these adorable kids here had not happened? What would have been their story? I could have been there too.
The emotional part of me began to play its role according to script. Beating it down, I made some silent pledges.
If ever I forget the goodness of God, may I be reminded of the plight of these less-fortunate children.
If ever I forget to pray for them, may I be reminded that I could have been in their place….
If ever I forget where I have come from, may I be again reminded of how we borrowed money to put body and soul together in the past.
If ever I forget that there is more to life than just ‘me’ and my family, may I be reminded that I live a borrowed life.
Everyone else deserves an opportunity…the orphans too!
Note to self!
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