The following day, I went along with my promise to return to the orphanage to donate a selection of toys and souvenirs collected by my parents and myself for their benefit.
Being a school day (Sunday), I helped them with their homework a little bit before surprising them with a bag fully of goodies.
Out came the dominoes (and I was embarrassed that I couldn't really remember how to play them... but I could at least guess at the rules!), then the recorder, then the makeup kit (absolutely captivating one of the lads) and the book of stickers, the balloons, the pack of cards, the crayons and so much more. Every single item widened the eyes of the kids and they were delighted indeed with the presents. Thanks Mum and Dad for the donations!
I love this guy's reaction to the makeup!
I played with the kids a little more, showed them a few basic tunes on the better recorder and then left them to it. Of course, they weren't going to let the bringer of so many toys escape easily, making me promise when I would return.
Thank you very much to Five Stones Hostel of Singapore for donating the five stones game! The kids loved it (and were very very good at it too...)
But the truth is, it is very unlikely I will be able to return again. For me, this is an 8-week adventure in the middle of my round-the-world exploration. Another way for me to discover more about myself and the world we inhabit. I was visiting the orphans because, amongst other things, it would be interesting and give me things to write about. But for them, this is their life and these adults who pass through their lives transiently constitute the majority of adult interation they have.
Quite thought-provoking stuff. And I really encourage anyone who is interested in Nepal to read Little Princes, a book documenting one American volunteer who decided to go much, much further than just volunteering to look after orphans in Nepal - he tracked down their parents and reunited them. For many of these children, they are here because they have been sold, trafficked or sent to be protected from the war and were never reclaimed.
Hence I was very, very happy to help even in a tiny way, for a couple of afternoons. Hats off to Amy who has been doing this for months.