Friday, July 2, 2010

family, shoes, and last day at amani

Bringing my family to Amani was amazing. It was so exciting finally showing them the children and the kids were so happy to meet them. My neighbor, from Summit, Andrew Burchanal, worked on collecting shoes for the children. He ended up donating two huge suitcases of shoes (soccer cleats, sandles, sneakers, shoes, and slippers). The kids went crazy when the saw the shoes! They have not had shoes in the supply room for a while and were ecstatic when they realized there were some cleats in the bag! So thank you to Mr. Burchenal for getting all of these shoes for the kids. You have truly made a difference and I really appreciate it.
After unpacking and counting out the shoes for the store keeper (supply room keeper) all the kids were playing outside with my family. Mikey brought these huge balloon type things that he bought in Mexico…the kids were hilarious trying to chase the balloons around. My mom and Lauren did face paint and the kids wanted snakes on their arms and flags (because of world cup) on their faces. My Dad brought his video camera, as usual, and the kids watched themselves on tv which they found hilarious.
The rest of the week was pretty hectic: a bad toe injury/infection; a knee infection that caused swollen lymph nodes and fever; arm injury; a burnt finger; and some other issues that don’t need to be mentioned. I tried to enjoy every minute of my last few days but it was hard to keep the thought of leaving this place from my mind.
Yesterday, Friday, was my last day. The morning was a little rough because there was a problem with one of the boys so Rovina was out for most of the day with the boy and one of the social workers. I had Laura, a new volunteer who has been to Amani before, who was helping me with health things because she is going to be working in the health room for a few weeks while Rovina is gone, so I had more time to just play with the kids rather than giving them bandages etc. After lunch we had a soda party to say goodbye. I made a short little speech to thank the staff and the kids and then was given a goodbye gift and certificate. Then each kid got a soda, pack of gum, piece of candy, and a bracelet. Leaving them was pretty rough because a few of them were crying. I was fine until I had to give them hugs and then I started to cry a little but as soon as one of them made fun of me for crying I was luckily able to stop myself. The kids have been amazing and have truly changed me, as have the staff, and my entire experience at Amani was, although difficult at times, outstanding and I would not have wanted to spend my past six months any other way.