I'll be honest, I'm having a tough time. No part of me wants to sit by the pool watching my kids swim while I know there are children sitting in parts of the world with no water, no food and no love. I feel like I'm capable of so much more (although there are plenty of times that I barely feel capable of handling the life I've already been blessed with.) I want to move Beneta and the other 65 kids out of the slums, into a home...into what all of our children completely take for granted every day!
Today I fell in love with a little girl.
Her name is Beneta and she is 4 years old.
She's the most beautiful girl I've ever seen, and I played with her for 5 hours.
She's in an orphanage called Oasis of Life which is located in the slums. There are 66 kids there, and they live in two tiny houses with no electricity. The girl's house has running water in the back, but the boys doesn't. The water is dirty and nasty and makes them sick, and it's all they have to drink. They cook their food in two dirty pots in the back.
Half of the team scrubbed and painted their walls today, and half played with the kids. I learned today that many orphanages use the small amount of money they have to keep the place reasonably clean instead of feeding the kids. I was disgusted, but they have to do that or they can shut the orphanages down for being unsanitary.
When I got there, I was instantly drawn to Beneta. Two hours in and I already loved the kid. She's gorgeous and gives me the biggest smiles. I know I spoiled her while I was there today, I fed her slim jims and grape soda, and gave her a cool squishy ball that we played with for hours. She doesn't really speak English, so I couldn't understand anything she said to me, but she understood me. At one point one of the ladies translated for me and she was asking me for drinking water. I instantly handed her my water bottle. She was super dehydrated and drank two of my water bottles in about 5 minutes. It was the best 3000 shillings I ever spent. I never in my life wanted to stay at a place so badly. Every time I thought about leaving her I about started crying. It amazed me how attached I got to her in 5 hours.
I asked the people there if she was adoptable and they didn't know. They said she didn't have any family and she had been there for 3 years. My heart broke thinking about her living in that place for the last 3 years. It was nasty and directly in the slums. This was the first time the team had visited this orphanage, and they said they never get visitors.
I told Beneta I had to leave and she got really upset. She got down and headed off to mope. A few minutes later I tried talking to her and she came back over to me and let me hold her and just stuck her thumb in her mouth. She didn't say much after that but I kissed her goodbye, told her I loved her and then headed out to the van. She waved bye to me from the door and my heart hurt so much. I didn't know what to do. I still don't know what to do. Pray for Beneta and all the kids at Oasis of Life.