Unfortunately, last week was my last week at the Sri Udom Orphanage. I really cannot put into words what this experience has meant to me because it really was not what I was expecting in any way. When one thinks about an orphanage you might ponder about lots and lots of children, chaos, and children who really have little guidance from adult figures. For the most part this can be true. When 270 children are together 24/7 for nearly an entire year at a time, things will certainly become chaotic. The sad truth for many of these children is that they may not have a proper adult role model to look up to.
However, what I noticed, and what I would like to discuss has very little to do with adults, but instead children. What I noticed in my last week of this volunteer program is that children have an incredible capability to adapt to really any situation they are put into. Their innocence and ignorance of the outside world is something that no adult can claim and even in the worst of times, their minds bring them to a simpler place. At the Sri Udom Orphanage, there are children aged four to thirteen, and just as an older sibling does for a younger sibling, these children teach each other. I would truly challenge you to find another age group that goes out of their way the way children do in order to simply help and aid a peer. Yet what is so special about this giving, is that it is not done with the intentions of reward. It is so common that our world sees greatness, however it is so often that we see greatness with expectations of rewards. If you are unsure of what I am talking about, here is a quick example.
As I said, putting this into words is something I find difficult because the justice of what is happening is not portrayed. All I can say is that the power of children is truly extraordinary. Children helping children, children mentoring children. It is a unique relationship that is produced at an orphanage. For me, it has been spectacular to have been apart of it, yet for some reason, I am not surprised. To the children of the Sri Udom Orphanage (who I might add have far less than I ever did as a child), life is an experience that they are fully indulged in. No cell phones, no distractions. It is simply people, experiences, and memories that keep these children alive.