I wrote this while traveling to Congo, July 9:
My prayer is that I can be a source of encouragement to (my family in Congo), and all the staff at Kaziba Orphanage. That I can help the children know that they are loved. That I can be inspired, and inspire others to truly love and make a difference in the lives of those in need. That I can listen and hear from God what His next step for me is. That I can serve others without crying constantly! That we can be safe and healthy. That my family will be fine in my absence. And so much more.
I wrote the following on July 14, while I was in Congo:
Yesterday we drove up to Kaziba. It was a very long and bumpy ride. We arrived at the orphanage in the late morning. The older children (ages 3 to 5) sang to us. It was very sweet and many of them are great singers. We stayed for a short while and then went to see the mwamikazi(the acting "king" of the Kaziba area). She invited us to stay for a wedding celebration for her daughter. The Congolese food was very good. I don't remember the names of the things we ate... rice, beans, sweet potato, cole slaw, chicken, etc.
After that we returned to the orphanage and of course spent more time holding the babies and playing with the kids. We also did four small trainings: oral health, nutrition and medical information, play and stimulation for babies and toddlers, and play/interaction with the older children. We gave the workers lotion, toothbrushes, and donuts. For the babies and children we brought crib toys and other toys, bananas and cookies, toothpaste and toothbrushes, formula, cloth diapers, diaper covers, a baby sling, and a bumbo baby seat. We spent quite a while there just interacting with all the kids. Can you imagine getting about 30 kids ages 5 and under ready for bed? It was pretty crazy! We "helped" tuck the oldest children into bed. We sang with them and they all laid down. As we left, they were all standing on the bed and peeking out the window at us.
We spent the night at a nearby guest house and returned to the orphanage in the morning for a few more hours with the kids. The biggest challenge for me at the orphanage was trying to give lots of attention to as many kids as possible.