Janelle Smith, Cairns, Australia – Volunteer
Three weeks have gone by ever so fast, and as I cast my memory back, I reflect on the journey with the Southern Thailand Orphanage.
Apart from the experience, the fulfillment of being with such beautiful children and staff, I will especially take two things away with me in particular, and that is the feeling of humbleness. Words cannot describe properly the feeling, but I shall try.
The first time, I along with Rowan and Bae, were privileged to be part of the Navy ceremony that included our children as well as others. The second-in-charge of the Navy was handing the certificates to the children and shaking their hands, congratulating them, and at times would bend down to quietly talk with some of them.
I had taken so many photos at that ceremony, the one that catches my eye every time, is Peace looking up at the gentleman and at the same time he is putting his hand out to shake Peace’s hand. This gentleman took time out of his important day to be with these children, who I truly believe are more important than he. Peace is a quiet achiever, with a beautiful personality that shines through.
The second time, I along with the other volunteers, staff and the rest of the children were yet again privileged to be part of Sea’s sixth birthday celebrations. The celebrations started at 2 o’clock into the afternoon and finished into the evening where we had a Thai bbq at a beautiful restaurant. This birthday party was the first one Sea has ever had and the first birthday cake as well. This little girl never goes without a smile on her face, she has a beautiful disposition and this can only be enhanced with the help of the other children and the staff.
I am not taking away how wonderful and magnificent all the children are at the orphanage, these were two moments where I felt absolutely overawed by being involved in these children’s lives for such a short time.
One of my nieces sent me a statement that I believe wholeheartedly will help me immensely, not only in coping without the home, but nurturing what I will hold close to my heart from these children and staff “you’re coming back to your own home that will be so much greater for having been at the orphanage.
There is so much more I want to say, I could write a book on my experiences and how I feel about the children, the staff and The Southern Thailand Orphanage, but I will finish here.
To be flown half way across the world, arrive at the home as a stranger, and leaving as a friend, with such a feeling of connectedness. I intend returning to the Southern Thailand Orphanage in the future.