Saturday, December 25, 2010

After all they are kids!!

This morning the orphans were up early to wash their laundry. They started this at about 6 AM.  Not too long later there were clothes strewn over the fence and atop the bushes everywhere you looked. Once their chores were complete we sat down to only chai for breakfast. Soon after, we were headed out the orphanage gates to our Mt. Uluguru adventure. The town of Morogoro sits at the base of Mt. Uluguru. The orphans led the way as they have trekked this path many times. One of the orphans hiked in what looked like men’s dress shoes from the 70’s. The worst part though, was that the shoe strings weren’t original and seemed to be 3 feet long. He had to keep tying them and tucking them into this shoe to be able to walk. Maybe that wasn’t the worst part. We can’t imagine hiking in men’s dress shoes. Some commented they do this for their exercise. Isa, one of the orphans, had already been up the mountain this morning! The kids were giddy as we headed up the mountain. We stopped mid-way as some of us needed a rest. At this point we decided to take an alternate route that took us to beautiful waterfalls instead of heading to the summit. 

Once we arrived at the waterfalls area the kids began climbing on the rocks and swimming in a pool of water that the falls created. Tons of splashing and laughter could be heard. We even saw some cannon ball splashes! They had a blast! Children are so creative, some of the boys created a slide on the rocks just by splashing water to make the smooth rocks slick. After a couple hours of playing we started to head back down the mountain. On way home the boys were trying to knock mango’s from the trees as they don’t get fruit in their regular meal regimen. 
Upon returning to the orphanage, the Peak 4 Poverty team spotted an ice cream man and decided to treat the kids. The ice cream man came on his bicycle with a big bag of cones tied to the front of the handlebars and a pail of ice cream strapped to the back of the bike. We didn’t even see any ice and really have no idea how he keeps it cold. The ice cream man makes the cones look like roses as he scoops the ice cream from the bucket with a regular table teaspoon. Lunch follows just a bit after all this excitement and once again we have ugali and red beans (maharage). Lunch is now over and the team is taking a needed nap as we are too tired to keep up with the orphans during a game of soccer later on. They are all waiting anxiously outside to start the match!

Football! The boys are all off to play soccer at a dirt field that is a short walk from the orphanage. On the way there we notice that one of the boys is wearing flip flops that have broken straps, on BOTH feet.  Seriously, flip flops are so inexpensive and this little guy is shuffling along with two broken shoes. But most of the boys have no shoes at all so perhaps this was actually fortunate for him. The goal posts are sticks stuck in the ground. There are no boundary lines and the boys play the ball no matter where it goes. It was a good game and everyone seemed to be having fun despite these challenges. Soccer means so much to these unfortunate kids. This is one thing that makes them forget about their challenges in life – their lack of parents, basic living condition, skipping childhood. Some of them even have nick names after soccer stars such as Messi and Ashley Cole.

Later in the evening we spent some time saying good bye to the orphans as today is our last day with them. They were all tuckered out from the day’s events. Some of them were falling asleep while we made some closing comments. After the meeting we spent some time with a few of the older boys showing them pictures from our time here.  Isa (one of the orphans) wants to be an astronomer and showed us some stars and planets he could locate in the sky.

We are heading off to bed as in the morning we take a bus to Moshi which is the foothills of Kilimanjaro. Anxiety is setting in as the climb nears! We do want to note that due to technical difficulties with Verizon that we are not positive we will be able to blog during the climb. Apparently all those Verizon people you see in the commercials (Can you hear me now?) have left us high and dry! LOL Stay tuned for further post. We hope to stay connected to you all. We will blog post climb if you don’t hear from us this week. Keep us in your thoughts as we tackle this dangerous and challenging wonder of nature!!

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