Day 3 at the orphanage and intense work has started. Today we were much more focused on our tasks given our experience from a full day of work yesterday. It was heartening to see the youths being mentored take over leadership of the work teams while mentors take a more supervisory role.
Just like yesterday, the orphans were very much hands-on with us on the work. Cleaning and painting teams proceeded rapidly, with the cleaning team having finished up with the entire boys’ dormitory and the painting of their windows and doors completed by day’s end.
Our mice glue traps also managed to successfully lure and trap more than 30 mice, but we suspect that is not the end of the battle, only the beginning of the victory. Jerome has so far been declared the champion mice-killer, using just a bare strip of newspaper to pick up trapped mice to throw away. The orphans are still our greatest inspiration though; going after the mice with great gusto, using and item they can find, including brooms, mops, shoes, rocks, etc. I think they got the educational message that mice are pests, not pets.
Our greatest project still lies in the modified basketball court. The orphans and adults are all extremely anxious that this Singaporean team finish up the job before they go so that they can have a proper post to use. Little do they know that between jemie and myself (the ‘basketball court consultants; and workers), we only have 3.5 minutes worth of cement-mixing experience through watching a youtube video.
By faith they know that they will one day concretise the current muddy and swampy ground to become a real court. By faith Jemie and myself know that with many of the orphans’ help, we will make history and make it happen. Today we have already invested much effort and resources into buying cement, sand, gravel, wood (for embankment of the pit) and tools for groundwork preparation. Hopefully tomorrow the repaired post will be ready for erection and cementing.
This is our most ambitious project so far but the orphans inspire us to dream and go beyond our perceived limits.
Of personal joy is that i managed to finish up a drilling project i could not finish last year. One of the girls (Sophea; the only orphan wearing specs) reminded me that i had yet to finish the job and so i finished drilling in the shelves for the girls with gusto. It was a difficult job once again, but the prior knowledge, chewing gum and the prospect of seeing their standard of living improve slightly helped me to accomplish it. A longing fulfilled brings great joy indeed.
Today the sawing and drilling has once again begun with gusto. Seeing our youths and even the orphans try out the heavy machinery and proving to themselves that they can do it is a great joy. This is one of my personal joys in this service-learning program. I don’t know of many other programs that can encourage youths to be very hand-on, even with machinery and see that they can be part of the change they want to see in the world. With proper mentoring, youths can be such a powerful change-agent.
Signing off here, tomorrow is going to be our last full day of work, and we hope to bring up the basket ball post. Watch this space!
More photos here.