Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Romania, Part 2: Meeting the kids......

First let me introduce my team:

Matt and Nana, Barbara, Melissa, Karen, LeAnne and Kathy
God worked in all of us and as we spent 12 days, 24/7 together, and a special bond quickly developed.

For those of you who don't know, Livada is an organization that helps orphans in Romania. There are many aspects to Livada, one being taking the orphans in their county to "camp" each summer. They set up a camp out in the country and give these kids, many who never leave home, a chance to get a way and go to camp for a week. Each week, they have a different set of kids at the camp. The week we were there, the kids from Livada's 3 group homes were going. Livada has rescued 40+ kids out of the orphan system and set them up in group homes where they are learning how to live as a family, take care of themselves, get an education and learn about God and Christ in their lives, etc. It is Livada's goal to carry these kids through the home, to a mentor home and then out on their own. Many of them are siblings. You can learn more about this at their website.

So, the day before we are to leave for camp, we get the opportunity to meet the kids. First we had a time to just hang out with them at their homes, see where they live,

Marga, showing Barbara and me her room

let them show us around and play some games with them.

I never could figure out this game!!

This is a form of speed Rumicube....they LOVED this game
no wonder, they were good at it!!!

Then we got all the kids together for a "pre camp time". The theme of the camp was the Olympics and we were all separated in to teams representing different countries. My team (and the best team, though not the winner of the olympics, was Romania!)

We learned very quickly that it was not going to be easy to get to know these kids. This was hard for me because kids usually take to me very fast. From the pictures, they look like any other kids, happy to hug you and wanting to play games. But there was a huge wall around each child and you never knew what it would take to get over that wall. I am a very demonstrative person and have always interacted with kids very physically. But these kids have huge trust issues and we found out early on that it was only okay to touch them when they initiated it......and sometimes, even when they initiated a hug, you could not hug them back. It was soooooo incredibly hard for me, when I felt a wall coming down and a child came up and hugged me or asked me to sit next to them, to not turn around and give them a huge hug. But what progress you made to get that first hug, was quickly taken away if you did that. A child that was so happy to see you one minute, would not have anything to do with you for hours if they felt uncomfortable. I think this was the hardest lesson for me all week. My whole team struggled with this. They were so hard to read and so sensitive to touch. They desperately wanted to be loved and held and yet at the same time could not accept it. It was heart breaking.

But this first day was for FUN!! To paint our countries colors on us, laugh, play games and.... get excited for camp and start building relationships that might lead to something significant........

..........I thought I had come for these kids, to build into them....

...........I would quickly learn that I was also there for me, for them to build into me.... we leave for camp!!!



Why 2nd Cup of Coffee? said...

Sara, these posts are just killing me, but in a good way. You are recounting some exact details of my experiences. Livada must be a wonderful organization. I can see how you wanted to hug on the kids. Also, your comment about my Believing God post today mirrors what I'm going through with a friend who has a poor pronosis with cancer. Girl, you are messing with my emotions, but in a GOOD way!


Great site. I really enjoyed reading your blog.


Jamie @ Purposeful Pursuit said...

I have so enjoyed reading these past few posts and seeing the pictures. What an amazing experience!