Day 18 - Thurs. 26th

On this particular morning we decided to have a go at teaching the children the English words to Lord I Lift Your Name On High, as many of the young people had expressed an interest in learning them since we had sung and danced it on our first night with them. They also clearly appreciated the spiritual nature of the song and this added to their interest in learning it. We also went through the chorus of Rise + Shine (the Noah's Ark song) which we came back to for a second English lesson the following morning.

One must bear in mind that their first foreign language was French, not English. However, they showed a real interest in English and some of them did know a little bit themselves already.

Eager pupils ready to learn!


Michael writing out (then decorating) the lyrics (photo Bro. Francis)


John pointing out the words as we repeated them all together (photo Bro. Francis)

Afterwards, we sung the song again, but this time the children loudly joined in the singing as well as doing the actions.


Some of the younger children.

Our next activity involved art + crafts: creating flowers from straws, crêpe paper and glue. The children, young and old, quickly became absorbed by any such activity and it was lovely to see the older ones helping the younger ones. Like the crowns, they proved a hit. the morning ended with some more lively dancing and singing.

Flower-making.

One minor hiccup came from a misunderstanding which meant that they had not prepared any lunch for us. Bernard, one of the orphanage leaders whose job it was while we were there to drive us around in the lorry, suggested that he take us to eat somewhere in town. I said that a little local place would do fine, but he insisted on taking us somewhere else by lorry. I kind of smelt a rat, but went along with him because he, and the other orphanage leaders, had been so nice to us. In the end he took us to a place that was obviously well used to coping with foreigners and had a menu that mixed local traditional fare with Western world cooking and drinks (pizza, chips, spaghetti, steak, burgers, Coca-Cola, etc...). The eyes of many in the group lit up when they saw what was on offer, so I thought it was actually a nice opportunity to spoil the group a little. They very much deserved it after all their hard work, dedication and moan-free attitude.

However, the meal did take a very long time, and by the time Bernard came to pick us up our siesta time had already long since been used up (we made siestas - or a least resting periods - compulsory straight after lunch throughout the whole trip, and we certainly needed them). Bernard generously suggested that we need not worry about coming back to work with the children, but we did not want to abandon the children totally for the afternoon. In the end we came to a workable compromise. Sophie had had to stay behind and look after a sick member of the group that morning, and by the afternoon my upset digestive system (which had been getting gradually worse over the previous 2 weeks despite frequent doses of Imodium)was becoming more and more troublesome (very frequent toilet visits!). So Sophie and Bro. Francis led the troops back out to the orphanage whilst I wimped out back to bed, but also acting as minder for a couple of other fragile group members who had also had a rough morning.

Bernard also let slip to me that the chief chef in the restaurant happened to be his brother! Well, I never.... that kind of explained things. But I didn't hold it against him, even though the meal was far more expensive that what we normally paid per day. I suppose we were doing our bit for a local business, and the group had a relaxed , highly enjoyable afternoon. So, smiles all round.

Those who went back to the orphanage had great fun during a massive storm, getting totally soaked. They were brought back to our convent accommodation during the height of the downpour and lighting. All I heard as they got back was "That was a-ma-z-i-n-g!!"... "That was SOOOO BOSS!!" "Best day ever!!!" Was I jealous? Of course I was!! But at the same time I was delighted that the group were still getting so much out of this trip after nearly 3 weeks away and just a few days to go.

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